Currie, Eilidh. “"What's the Alternative?"”, Boston College, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108767.
American discrimination law is a paradox: it attempts to eradicate discrimination – an inherently systemic problem impacting the most marginalized groups – using bureaucratic procedures. As a result, public servants tasked with investigating violations of discrimination law must pursue the fulfillment of such a sweeping goal through incremental means, adhering to laws that define discrimination narrowly. There is an extensive literature arguing that this misalignment between the law’s driving goals and its methods of enforcement renders it ineffective; there is also considerable research on the public servant’s unique position in this sense. Applying these literatures together to twelve discrimination investigators at three state-level commissions, it seems investigators are aware of the law’s limitations, but are able to close the gap between the bureaucratic nature of their work and its driving goals by rationalizing these limitations, allowing them to remain idealistic about the efficacy of the law.