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Should schools be colorblind?

Laurie Cooper Stoll

ISBN: 978-1-509-53425-8 September 2019 Polity 148 Pages



Is being colorblind the most effective way to address overt and covert racism in schooling today? Should educators pretend that race doesn’t matter? 

Award-winning sociologist Laurie Cooper Stoll argues that, as long as society is stratified along racial lines, taking a colorblind approach will never end racial inequalities in schooling. Educators must strive to be color-conscious and actively engage in antiracism if they want to address prejudice and discrimination in education and the wider society. If not, they end up perpetuating racial inequity and white supremacy, whether intentionally or not.

Drawing on her research and professional development with educators as well as her experience as a publicly elected school board member, Stoll illustrates the complexities, contradictions, and consequences of colorblindness in schools and provides concrete suggestions for people coming to racial justice work in education from multiple entry points.
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Race and Colorblindness in Schools Today
  • The Ideology of Colorblind Racism
  • Taking Account of Race and Colorblindness in Schools
  • Chapter 2: Now You See Race, Now You Don’t
  • Racism in Education Still Exists, But It’s Not a Major Problem Here
  • When Racism Becomes Bullying
  • The White Backlash
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3: Doing Antiracism in Schools  
  • Teachers as Advocates for Racial Justice
  • Administrators as Advocates for Racial Justice      
  • Schools Board Members as Advocates for Racial Justice
  • Community Members as Advocates for Racial Justice
  • Moving Forward
  • Postscript: Social Justice Canaries in the Coalmine
  • References 
  • Index 

“This book is a great antidote to the persistent widespread belief across the country that colorblindness is the racially progressive approach to dealing with racial matters in schools. Stoll provides those concerned with racial equity a clear and direct path away from colorblind racism and towards a real commitment to substantive transformation.”
Amanda Lewis, Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Laurie Cooper Stoll challenges and inspires us to ‘imagine the impact’ we can have if we collaborate to put equity first in our advocacy. When equity is ‘non-negotiable,’ anything is possible for all students.”
Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network