Saying What You Mean

“A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought”.
Warren Buffett

The other day I was perplexed by a colleague’s characterization of me as a “black water lawyer”. I understand “black gold” to mean oil; “black ops” to be the kind of clandestine operation that resulted in the demise of Bin Laden, but I confess the black label he gave me has no meaning. Water law is made up of singularly significant historic events, pervasive technical details and unceasing power politics. These facts do not, in my experience, somehow change because of my ethnicity. I don’t need to be black to be interested in the earlier settlement of black farmers in Linden and Gretna, or white to be mindful of the many Basque farmers in Fresno. I don’t even need to be Chinese or Mormon to appreciate their contributions, along with many others, to developing Western water infrastructure. Racial identification all too often is used to fracture and isolate, so I don’t get the point of applying it to my legal expertise. It’s just another straw; one that cannot be spun into gold.

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About bwdlg

Environmental Law
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