Despite the Best Intentions

Author: Amanda E. Lewis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190250874
Release Date: 2015-08-04
Genre: Education

On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers? Through five years' worth of interviews and data-gathering at Riverview, Amanda Lewis and John Diamond have created a powerful and illuminating study of how the racial achievement gap continues to afflict American schools more than fifty years after the formal dismantling of segregation. As students progress from elementary school to middle school to high school, their level of academic achievement increasingly tracks along racial lines, with white and Asian students maintaining higher GPAs and standardized testing scores, taking more advanced classes, and attaining better college admission results than their black and Latina/o counterparts. Most research to date has focused on the role of poverty, family stability, and other external influences in explaining poor performance at school, especially in urban contexts. Diamond and Lewis instead situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing the disparity. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the "racial achievement gap," exploring what race actually means in this situation, and how it matters. Diamond and Lewis' research brings clarity and data into a debate that is too often dominated by stereotyping, race-baiting, and demagoguery. An in-depth study with far-reaching consequences, Despite the Best Intentions revolutionizes our understanding of both the knotty problem of academic disparities and the larger question of the color line in American society.

The Power of Race in Cuba

Author: Danielle Pilar Clealand
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190632311
Release Date: 2017-06-30
Genre: Social Science

In The Power of Race in Cuba, Danielle Pilar Clealand analyzes racial ideologies that negate the existence of racism and their effect on racial progress and activism through the lens of Cuba. Since 1959, Fidel Castro and the Cuban government have married socialism and the ideal of racial harmony to create a formidable ideology that is an integral part of Cubans' sense of identity and their perceptions of race and racism in their country. While the combination of socialism and a colorblind racial ideology is particular to Cuba, strategies that paint a picture of equality of opportunity and deflect the importance of race are not particular to the island's ideology and can be found throughout the world, and in the Americas, in particular. By promoting an anti-discrimination ethos, diminishing class differences at the onset of the revolution, and declaring the end of racism, Castro was able to unite belief in the revolution to belief in the erasure of racism. The ideology is bolstered by rhetoric that discourages racial affirmation. The second part of the book examines public opinion on race in Cuba, particularly among black Cubans. It examines how black Cubans have indeed embraced the dominant nationalist ideology that eschews racial affirmation, but also continue to create spaces for black consciousness that challenge this ideology. The Power of Race in Cuba gives a nuanced portrait of black identity in Cuba and through survey data, interviews with formal organizers, hip hop artists, draws from the many black spaces, both formal and informal to highlight what black consciousness looks like in Cuba.

Their Highest Potential

Author: Vanessa Siddle Walker
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807866199
Release Date: 2000-11-09
Genre: Social Science

African American schools in the segregated South faced enormous obstacles in educating their students. But some of these schools succeeded in providing nurturing educational environments in spite of the injustices of segregation. Vanessa Siddle Walker tells the story of one such school in rural North Carolina, the Caswell County Training School, which operated from 1934 to 1969. She focuses especially on the importance of dedicated teachers and the principal, who believed their jobs extended well beyond the classroom, and on the community's parents, who worked hard to support the school. According to Walker, the relationship between school and community was mutually dependent. Parents sacrificed financially to meet the school's needs, and teachers and administrators put in extra time for professional development, specialized student assistance, and home visits. The result was a school that placed the needs of African American students at the center of its mission, which was in turn shared by the community. Walker concludes that the experience of CCTS captures a segment of the history of African Americans in segregated schools that has been overlooked and that provides important context for the ongoing debate about how best to educate African American children. African American History/Education/North Carolina

I Am Your Sister

Author: Rudolph P. Byrd
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199887743
Release Date: 2009-04-21
Genre: Social Science

Audre Lorde was not only a famous poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past century. Her writings and speeches grappled with an impressive broad list of topics, including sexuality, race, gender, class, disease, the arts, parenting, and resistance, and they have served as a transformative and important foundation for theorists and activists in considering questions of power and social justice. Lorde embraced difference, and at each turn she emphasized the importance of using it to build shared strength among marginalized communities. I Am Your Sister is a collection of Lorde's non-fiction prose, written between 1976 and 1990, and it introduces new perspectives on the depth and range of Lorde's intellectual interests and her commitments to progressive social change. Presented here, for the first time in print, is a major body of Lorde's speeches and essays, along with the complete text of A Burst of Light and Lorde's landmark prose works Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals. Together, these writings reveal Lorde's commitment to a radical course of thought and action, situating her works within the women's, gay and lesbian, and African American Civil Rights movements. They also place her within a continuum of black feminists, from Sojourner Truth, to Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Lorraine Hansberry, and Patricia Hill Collins. I Am Your Sister concludes with personal reflections from Alice Walker, Gloria Joseph, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and bell hooks on Lorde's political and social commitments and the indelibility of her writings for all who are committed to a more equitable society.

The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity

Author: Maria Krysan
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610443425
Release Date: 2004-11-11
Genre: Social Science

The legal institutions of overt racism in the United States have been eliminated, but social surveys and investigations of social institutions confirm the continuing significance of race and the enduring presence of negative racial attitudes. This shift from codified and explicit racism to more subtle forms comes at a time when the very boundaries of race and ethnicity are being reshaped by immigration and a rising recognition that old systems of racial classification inadequately capture a diverse America. In The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity, editors Maria Krysan and Amanda Lewis bring together leading scholars of racial dynamics to study the evolution of America's racial problem and its consequences for race relations in the future. The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity opens by attempting to answer a puzzling question: how is it that so many whites think racism is no longer a problem but so many nonwhites disagree? Sociologist Lawrence Bobo contends that whites exhibit what he calls "laissez faire racism," which ignores historical and structural contributions to racial inequality and does nothing to remedy the injustices of the status quo. Tyrone Forman makes a similar case in his chapter, contending that an emphasis on "color blindness" allows whites to be comforted by the idea that all races are on a level playing field, while not recognizing the advantages they themselves have reaped from years of inequality. The book then moves to a discussion of the new ways that Americans view race. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Karen Glover argue that the United States is moving from a black-white divide to a tripartite system, where certain light-skinned, non-threatening minority groups are considered "honorary whites." The book's final section reexamines the theoretical underpinnings of scholarship on race and ethnicity. Joe Feagin argues that research on racism focuses too heavily on how racial boundaries are formed and needs to concentrate more on how those boundaries are used to maintain privileges for certain groups at the expense of others. Manning Marable contends that racism should be addressed at an institutional level to see the prevalence of "structural racism"—deeply entrenched patterns of inequality that are coded by race and justified by stereotypes. The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity provides an in-depth view of racism in modern America, which may be less conspicuous but not necessarily less destructive than its predecessor, Jim Crow. The book's rich analysis and theoretical insight shed light on how, despite many efforts to end America's historic racial problem, it has evolved and persisted into the 21st century.

Encountering American Faultlines

Author: Jose Itzigsohn
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610446518
Release Date: 2009-06-18
Genre: Social Science

The descendents of twentieth-century southern and central European immigrants successfully assimilated into mainstream American culture and generally achieved economic parity with other Americans within several generations. So far, that is not the case with recent immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. A compelling case study of first- and second-generation Dominicans in Providence, Rhode Island, Encountering American Faultlines suggests that even as immigrants and their children increasingly participate in American life and culture, racialization and social polarization remain key obstacles to further progress. Encountering American Faultlines uses occupational and socioeconomic data and in-depth interviews to address key questions about the challenges Dominicans encounter in American society. What is their position in the American socioeconomic structure? What occupations do first- and second-generation Dominicans hold as they enter the workforce? How do Dominican families fare economically? How do Dominicans identify themselves in the American racial and ethnic landscape? The first generation works largely in what is left of Providence's declining manufacturing industry. Second-generation Dominicans do better than their parents economically, but even as some are able to enter middle-class occupations, the majority remains in the service-sector working class. José Itzigsohn suggests that the third generation will likely continue this pattern of stratification, and he worries that the chances for further economic advancement in the next generation may be seriously in doubt. While transnational involvement is important to first-generation Dominicans, the second generation concentrates more on life in the United States and empowering their local communities. Itzigsohn ties this to the second generation's tendency to embrace panethnic identities. Panethnic identity provides Dominicans with choices that defy strict American racial categories and enables them to build political coalitions across multiple ethnicities. This intimate study of the Dominican immigrant experience proposes an innovative theoretical approach to look at the contemporary forms and meanings of becoming American. José Itzigsohn acknowledges the social exclusion and racialization encountered by the Dominican population, but he observes that, by developing their own group identities and engaging in collective action and institution building at the local level, Dominicans can distinguish themselves and make inroads into American society. But Encountering American Faultlines also finds that hard work and hope have less to do with their social mobility than the existing economic and racial structures of U.S. society.

Both Sides Now

Author: Amy Wells
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520942485
Release Date: 2009-01-20
Genre: Education

This is the untold story of a generation that experienced one of the most extraordinary chapters in our nation's history—school desegregation. Many have attempted to define desegregation, which peaked in the late 1970s, as either a success or a failure; surprisingly few have examined the experiences of the students who lived though it. Featuring the voices of blacks, whites, and Latinos who graduated in 1980 from racially diverse schools, Both Sides Now offers a powerful firsthand account of how desegregation affected students—during high school and later in life. Their stories, set in a rich social and historical context, underscore the manifold benefits of school desegregation while providing an essential perspective on the current backlash against it.

Academic Profiling

Author: Gilda L. Ochoa
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9781452940137
Release Date: 2013-10-01
Genre: Education

Today the achievement gap is hotly debated among pundits, politicians, and educators. In particular this conversation often focuses on the two fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States: Asian Americans and Latinos. In Academic Profiling, Gilda L. Ochoa addresses this so-called gap by going directly to the source. At one California public high school where the controversy is lived every day, Ochoa turns to the students, teachers, and parents to learn about the very real disparities—in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions—that lead to more than just gaps in achievement. In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, the students tell stories of encouragement and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, they are divided by race, class, and gender. While those channeled into an International Baccalaureate Program boast about Socratic classes and stress-release sessions, students left out of such programs commonly describe uninspired teaching and inaccessible counseling. Students unequally labeled encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities—disparities compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry that favors the already economically privileged. Despite the entrenched inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling finds hope in the many ways students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. When Ochoa shares the results of her research with the high school, we see the new possibilities—and limits—of change.

Blacked Out

Author: Signithia Fordham
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226257142
Release Date: 1996-05-01
Genre: Education

This innovative portrait of student life in an urban high school focuses on the academic success of African-American students, exploring the symbolic role of academic achievement within the Black community and investigating the price students pay for attaining it. Signithia Fordham's richly detailed ethnography reveals a deeply rooted cultural system that favors egalitarianism and group cohesion over the individualistic, competitive demands of academic success and sheds new light on the sources of academic performance. She also details the ways in which the achievements of sucessful African-Americans are "blacked out" of the public imagination and negative images are reflected onto black adolescents. A self-proclaimed "native" anthropologist, she chronicles the struggle of African-American students to construct an identity suitable to themselves, their peers, and their families within an arena of colliding ideals. This long-overdue contribution is of crucial importance to educators, policymakers, and ethnographers.

Inequality in the Promised Land

Author: R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804792455
Release Date: 2014-06-25
Genre: Education

Nestled in neighborhoods of varying degrees of affluence, suburban public schools are typically better resourced than their inner-city peers and known for their extracurricular offerings and college preparatory programs. Despite the glowing opportunities that many families associate with suburban schooling, accessing a district's resources is not always straightforward, particularly for black and poorer families. Moving beyond class- and race-based explanations, Inequality in the Promised Land focuses on the everyday interactions between parents, students, teachers, and school administrators in order to understand why resources seldom trickle down to a district's racial and economic minorities. Rolling Acres Public Schools (RAPS) is one of the many well-appointed suburban school districts across the United States that has become increasingly racially and economically diverse over the last forty years. Expanding on Charles Tilly's model of relational analysis and drawing on 100 in-depth interviews as well participant observation and archival research, R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy examines the pathways of resources in RAPS. He discovers that—due to structural factors, social and class positions, and past experiences—resources are not valued equally among families and, even when deemed valuable, financial factors and issues of opportunity hoarding often prevent certain RAPS families from accessing that resource. In addition to its fresh and incisive insights into educational inequality, this groundbreaking book also presents valuable policy-orientated solutions for administrators, teachers, activists, and politicians.

Friends Disappear

Author: Mary Barr
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226156460
Release Date: 2014-10-30
Genre: History

In 1974, middle-schooler Mary Barr and a dozen of her friends boys and girls, black and white sat for a photograph on a porch in Evanston, Illinois. Barr s book, both history and ethnography, emerges from her thinking about this photograph and its deep background. Using government documents, newspaper articles, and census data, Barr provides a history of Evanston with a particular emphasis on its neighborhoods, its schools, and its families. Barr also tracked down all of the living people in her photograph and interviewed them about their experiences in Evanston and beyond. Ultimately, Barr comes to better understand the stories and the lies people tell about their communities, as well as the ways that inequality begets inequality, both in a historical sense and in the daily lives of her far-flung friends. "

Black Participatory Research

Author: Elizabeth R. Drame
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9781137468994
Release Date: 2016-04-29
Genre: Education

Black Participatory Research explores research partnerships that disrupt inequality, create change, and empower racially marginalized communities. Through presenting a series of co-reflections from professional and community researchers in different locations, this book explores the conflicts and tensions that emerge when professional interests, class and socio-economic statuses, age, geography, and cultural and language differences emerge alongside racial identity as central ways of seeing and being ourselves. Through the investigations of black researchers who collaborated in participatory research projects in post-Katrina New Orleans, USA the greater Philadelphia–New Jersey-Delaware region in the northeastern USA, and Senegal, West Africa, this book offers candid reflections of how shared identity, experiences, and differences shape the nature and process of participatory research.

Unequal City

Author: Carla Shedd
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610448529
Release Date: 2015-10-20
Genre: Social Science

Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up. Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago’s most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law. In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents. Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group. Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago’s segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines. As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice,” or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy. Adolescents’ worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours. Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously. Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students’ perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment. By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.