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Race and Education

Race is a highly contested term. Commonly assumed to relate to fixed and obvious biological characteristics, the differences that are viewed as racial are in fact socially constructed. Assumptions about racial differences are historically and socially specific; races are perceived differently in different societies, and even within a single society, those assumptions change over time. This entry examines the relationship between race and education. It begins by reviewing different understandings of race and racism. The entry shows how a critical understanding of race and racism (an understanding that looks beneath the superficial rhetoric of equal opportunity and examines substantive inequities in society) reveals that education plays a vital role in sustaining, reproducing, and legitimating racist inequity. In particular, the entry considers the impact of ...

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