Another Kind of Public Education: Race, Schools, the Media, and Democratic Possibilities

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Beacon Press, 2009 - Education - 236 pages
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Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins opens this brilliant new book on race and education by describing how in her senior year at the Philadelphia High School for girls, near the end of a public school education that “had almost silenced me,” she was invited to deliver a graduation address on the meaning of the American flag. She refused to deliver the censored version her teacher demanded, and someone else took her place on stage.
Another Kind of Public Education spins the threads of that story—the way education, race, and democracy are intertwined; the way racism and resistance work through a variety of unspoken means; what schools do to limit or to open up possibilities—into a call for “another kind of public education,” one that helps us “envision new democratic possibilities.”
Collins begins, in a tour de force of social analysis with practical implications, by demystifying what she calls “color-blind racism as a system of power.” She argues that the generation coming of age at the turn of the twenty-first century—in a post-civil-rights society that publicly claims to be “color-blind”—needs a new language for analyzing the new “color-blind racism” of contemporary society that has stymied efforts to live up to the promise of American democracy.
She shows us how racism as a system of power works in four distinct yet intertwined domains—structural, disciplinary, cultural, and interpersonal. Drawing examples from schools, politics, pop culture, personal experience, and more, she demonstrates in eye-opening ways how racial inequality is manufactured and reinforced, even as we publicly espouse an ideology of color-blind fairness.
And she points, crucially, to what we can do about it. Noting that everyone is situated differently in the complex domains of power, she urges us to “think expansively about resistance,” to figure out in which domain we can have the most effect in resisting racism as a system of power, and how. She also discusses classrooms around the country, teaching as a subversive activity, “cultivating countersurveillance,” and the power of storytelling and media.
Blending entertaining storytelling, social theory, and practical suggestions for changing institutions, including schools, Another Kind of Public Education is both a call for change and a reminder that public education—in every sense—is at the heart of American democratic possibilities.

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What Does the Flag Mean to You? Education and Democratic Possibilities
Social Blackness Honorary Whiteness and All Points in Between ColorBlind Racism as a System of Power
Would You Know It If You Saw It? Practicing Resistance in a Seemingly ColorBlind Society
Somebodys Watching You To Be Young Sexy and Black
The Way Forward Remembering Zora
A Note from the Series Editor

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About the author (2009)

Patricia Hill Collins, a former public school teacher herself, is one of our most distinguished sociologists. She is the author of award-winning books, including Black Sexual Politics, Black Feminist Thought, and From Black Power to Hip Hop. She is Distinguished University Professor in sociology at the University of Maryland–College Park, and Charles Phelps Taft Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Sociology and African American studies at the University of Cincinnati. She serves as the hundredth president of the American Sociological Association, its first African American woman president.

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