On its fiftieth anniversary, Brown v. Board of Education no longer enjoys the unbridled admiration it once earned from academic commentators. Indeed, many of the social, political, and economic problems that Brown intended to address are still deeply embedded in our society.
Lani Guinier argues that to address the full range of racialized inequities, racial justice advocates need to move beyond the early tenets of racial liberalism to racial literacy. Racism, she says, is a structural phenomenon that fabricates interdependent yet paradoxical relationships between race, class, and geography—what she calls the interest-divergence dilemma. And the capacity to decipher the durable racial grammar that structures racialized hierarchies is racial literacy.
This essay was presented at the CASBS Summer Workshop, "Race and Inequality in Education: Reframing a Research and Policy Agenda for the 21st Century."
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.