Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation

Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation

by Stuart Buck
     
 

Commentators from Bill Cosby to Barack Obama have observed the phenomenon of black schoolchildren accusing studious classmates of “acting white.” How did this contentious phrase, with roots in Jim Crow-era racial discord, become a part of the schoolyard lexicon, and what does it say about the state of racial identity in the American system of education?

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Overview

Commentators from Bill Cosby to Barack Obama have observed the phenomenon of black schoolchildren accusing studious classmates of “acting white.” How did this contentious phrase, with roots in Jim Crow-era racial discord, become a part of the schoolyard lexicon, and what does it say about the state of racial identity in the American system of education?

The answer, writes Stuart Buck in this frank and thoroughly researched book, lies in the complex history of desegregation. Although it arose from noble impulses and was to the overall benefit of the nation, racial desegegration was often implemented in a way that was devastating to black communities. It frequently destroyed black schools, reduced the numbers of black principals who could serve as role models, and made school a strange and uncomfortable environment for black children, a place many viewed as quintessentially “white.”

Drawing on research in education, history, and sociology as well as articles, interviews, and personal testimony, Buck reveals the unexpected result of desegregation and suggests practical solutions for making racial identification a positive force in the classroom.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300171204
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
12/19/2011
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Does "Acting White" Occur? 9

2 Why Should We Care? How Peers Affect the Achievement Gap 27

3 The History of Black Education in America 41

4 What Were Black Schools Like? 54

5 The Closing of Black Schools 73

6 The Loss of Black Teachers and Principals 99

7 The Rise of Tracking 116

8 When Did "Acting White" Arise? 125

9 Where Do We Go from Here? 147

Notes 163

Bibliography 215

Index 259

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