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Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities (Series in Childhood Studies) Paperback – March 18, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A compelling ethnography of the racial landscape of contemporary schools -- Barrie Thorne, author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School

A wonderful and timely book -- Michèle Foster, author of Black Teachers on Teaching

About the Author

Amanda E. Lewis is an assistant professor of sociology and African American studies and a fellow at the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Series: Series in Childhood Studies
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813532256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813532257
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kaiser on June 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is truly amazing. It deals with a controversial topic in a careful but thought-provoking manner. Having taught in urban and suburban schools for twenty years I can relate to many of the stories that she tells about the inability of teachers, school administrators, and parents to deal effectively with the elephant in the room, race. As she points out in her conclusion we as teachers and Americans cannot "merely close our eyes and try by sheer force of imagination to will ourselves into a color-blind world." In this very readable and well-written book the author reminds us that as teachers we owe it to our students (not just our black and hispanic students) to help them understand how race matters. It is only through direct and honest dialogue that our students will be better prepared to make sure race matters less in the future.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Race in the Schoolyard adds a new dimension to the literature on race and schooling. It examines how race is understood, produced, reproduced and contested by students, teachers and parents. It provides rich description and profound analysis of the dynamics of race in elementary schools. Its explanations of how race is constructed and dealt with at schools incorporates the examination of micro processes such as teacher practices and macro processes such as residential segregation. It makes a strong statement about how racial categorization is imbued in everyday life at school and even in the most minute or "insignificant" details of school. The book shows how racial categorization leads to behavior toward others that influence their educational opportunities.
Amanda Lewis provides new insights into how race gets constructed by schools. She examines how school as an institution produces racial meanings, in formal and informal ways, that have lasting consequences for students, especially students of color.
Amanda Lewis'work--which was quoted in the University of Michigan affirmative action case--will surely raise controversy and fuel substantial debates. She wrestles with the relative roles of culture and merit in the book. She uses Bourdieu to understand cultural gaps between minority students and the school. She argues that such gaps put minority students at a disadvantage as they are judged, not in terms of "ability or potential," but by "white middle class styles of interaction." In other words, while acknowledging cultural differences, she points out that these differences are not treated neutrally; rather, those of white students tend to be rewarded, and those of students of color are more often treated as illegitimate.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Race in the Schoolyard for a book review and discussion as part of a graduate class. I choose the book because I am interested in the way race affects both students in the majority and those in minority groups. The books examines what role race plays in three schools located in very different neighborhoods and with very different racial make ups. If the reader is familiar with schools and racial relationships within educational institutions the findings of the study may not be very surprising. But for those readers new to the racial implications found in classrooms this study would be an excellent place to start. Amanda Lewis addresses racial implications in very different schools with very different racial make ups. For this reason, this book is an great introduction to the topic.
The book poses some excellent questions for classroom teachers and school leaders. It forces readers to examine some of their own actions that, while they may think nothing of, may actually be causing or exaggerating racial tensions in their classrooms or schools. The study encourages discussions within schools, grade levels, and classrooms about race; which, depending on the school, may not have occurred before. It allows educators to think about the impacts of race in their schools without accusing them of racism.
While the book does allow for some great conversations and is certainly a quality introduction to racial relations in the context of school, it may seem outdated or expected to educators or readers with significant experience in a wide range of school settings. If the reader is familiar with the implications of race in schools this study may seem repetitive.
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By Leigha on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amanda Lewis is making some noise with her book Race in the Schoolyard. Her thought provoking work takes us into the classrooms of 3 elementary schools revealing the hidden curriculum that is being taught each day- race. Through a series of interviews and observations, Amanda Lewis sheds light on students, teachers, and administrators, and their culturally incompetent attitudes towards race and the harmful affect that it has, not only on minorities, but those of the macro culture as well. Through deep analysis, she goes on to explain how the educational institution, which is an agent of socialization has a responsibility to tackle race head on, so that positive attitudes are developed and perpetuated later in life.
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