The premise of David Mamet’s new play, “Race,” is that a group of underdog lawyers–one black lawyer (Chris Butler), one white lawyer (Anthony Fusco) and one young, black, female lawyer-in-training (Susan Heyward)–get approached, ostensibly because of the colors of their skin, by a white man (Kevin O’Rourke) accused of raping a black woman and end up taking on his case.
Everyone reading this column has had a dispute with another person. Some of them are serious — maybe your ex won’t pay child support — while some are slightly less so, such as a confrontation with a roommate who whistles constantly or a housemate who hoards the Doritos (you know who you are). Unfortunately for us, conflicts are everywhere. Although some people — myself excluded — can apparently resolve these conflicts in mature, calm ways, even the most level-headed people sometimes need outside intervention to deal with the big stuff. In this lawsuit-happy culture, our first instinct when things don’t go our way is often to take legal action. But lawsuits are expensive and require the kind of time and money most Americans simply don’t have in this economy.
And that is where this week’s topic, the professional mediator, steps in.
Have you ever wondered about the methodologies behind lie detection? Is its application in the courtroom setting appropriate? In which cases is lie detection machinery flawed? A Monday night panel discussion held by the Stanford Interdisciplinary Group in Neuroscience and Society (SIGNS) attempted to tackle these issues, covering modern neuro-imaging in locations outside the lab.