Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School by Mica Pollock

By Mica Pollock

This publication considers in remarkable aspect the most confounding questions in American racial perform: while to talk about humans in racial phrases. Viewing "race speak" during the lens of a California highschool and district, Colormute attracts on 3 years of ethnographic examine on daily race labeling in schooling. in line with the author's stories as a instructor in addition to an anthropologist, it discusses the position race performs in daily and coverage discuss such universal issues as self-discipline, success, curriculum reform, and academic inequality. Pollock illustrates the extensive diversifications within the means audio system use race labels. occasionally humans use them with out pondering two times; at different moments they stay away from them in any respect expenses or use them in simple terms within the description of specific events. whereas a huge problem of daily race speak in colleges is that racial descriptions should be faulty or irrelevant, Pollock demonstrates that anxiously suppressing race phrases (being what she phrases "colormute") may also reason educators to breed the very racial inequities they abhor. The ebook assists readers in cultivating a better realizing of the pitfalls and chances of daily race speak and clarifies formerly murky discussions of "colorblindness." by way of bridging the space among idea and perform, Colormute can be greatly beneficial in fostering ongoing conversations approximately dismantling racial inequality in the USA.

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Accordingly, the student challenge to racial categorization remains submerged until the conclusion of the book, where I discuss the possibility of modeling Columbus students’ strategy of “race-bending”: that is, strategically interrogating the very notion of “racial” difference even while keeping race labels available for inequality analysis. Chapter 2 begins to look at Columbus adults and students struggling not with whether clear-cut “race groups” existed at Columbus, then, but with when and how race mattered to everyday life there.

Whether they talked one way or the other depended, tautologically, on whether they were debating the very process of racial categorization or simply describing the world as racially ordered. As the first part of this chapter shows, students always wound up contesting easy accounts of racegroup membership in casual and classroom discussions about racial classification 20 CHAP TER ONE itself. Yet throughout these very conversations and almost always when talking with adults about other things, as Part 2 argues, students employed a shorthand language of simple race terms that assumed people fit easily into a simple, sixgroup race taxonomy.

I repeated. She nodded. ” I asked. She shook her head slowly. “I don’t think so,” she said. “So you call yourself black—you don’t ever use ‘African-American’ or whatever . . ” I asked. “I’m BLACK,” she said, shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head. “She’s full Samoan,” said the smaller guy, pointing to another girl at our table. He and the bigger guy started asking the five-ethnicity girl about Samoan words. She translated the first five or ten words they said as “shit,” or some variation thereof.

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