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IntegrationsThe Struggle for Racial Equality and Civic Renewal in Public Education$

Lawrence Blum and Zoë Burkholder

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226785981

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226786179.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction

Lawrence Blum

Zoë Burkholder

University of Chicago Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the book and summarizes forthcoming chapters.

Keywords:   racial inequality, integration, segregation, educational activists, race, racialized groups, racial justice, racial identity, white oppression, equal education

The Fault Line in Public Education

The promise of a free, high-quality public education from kindergarten through high school for all children regardless of race, socioeconomic standing, religion, geographic location, and even immigration status is an enduring component of the American creed.

Unfortunately, America’s public schools have been unable to keep this promise for all, and many of the students left behind are children of color. The US Department of Education recently concluded:

Our education system, legally desegregated more than a half century ago, is ever more segregated by wealth and income, and often again by race. Ten million students in America’s poorest communities—and millions more African American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaska Native students who are not poor—are having their lives unjustly and irredeemably blighted by a system that consigns them to the lowest-performing teachers, the most run-down facilities, and academic expectations and opportunities considerably lower than what we expect of other students. These vestiges of segregation, discrimination, and inequality are unfinished business for our nation.1

This book examines the enduring problem of racial inequality in American public schools through a historical and philosophical analysis. Our goal is to help readers better understand racial inequality in the American public education system in order to advocate for more equitable and just forms of schooling. To do so requires a meticulous consideration of school segregation and inequality and what has often been assumed to be its most obvious cure—integration.

Today, American public schools are noticeably segregated in terms of (p.2) race and, since the late 1980s, have been “resegregating”—or becoming more racially segregated—so that today Black students are more likely to attend segregated schools than they were in 1970. A massive body of scholarship finds a direct link, though not always a causal one, between racial segregation and educational inequality. Legal historian James E. Ryan contends this “boundary has been the fault line of public education for half a century, doing more than anything else to define and shape the educational opportunities of public school students. On one side stand predominantly white, middle-income, and relatively successful schools. On the other side stand predominantly minority, poor, and relatively unsuccessful schools.”2

This fault line has a long and shameful history in America, one that is intertwined with restrictions in housing, employment, and generational wealth. As early as 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois pronounced, “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.”3 For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments defined where whites and people of color could live—and where their kids were allowed go to school. Historian Richard Rothstein confirms, “Today’s residential segregation in the North, South, Midwest, and West is not the unintended consequence of individual choices and of otherwise well-meaning law or regulation but of unhidden public policy that explicitly segregated every metropolitan area in the United States. The policy was so systematic and forceful that its effects endure to the present time.”4

High levels of school segregation and inequality create a national achievement gap between white and Asian students on one side and Black, Latinx, and Native American on the other. The average Black eighth grader is performing at the nineteenth percentile of white students, and the average Latinx student is at the twenty-sixth percentile. Native Americans as a group lag behind all other students in both reading and math.5 Asian American students fall on both sides of the equation—many are within a subgroup that outperforms white students, but Asian American students from marginalized ethnic groups slip through the cracks.6 These racial achievement gaps are explained not by an individual student’s racial identity but by whether a student attended an under-resourced, majority-minority school or was subjected to racial discrimination in an integrated, well-resourced one.7 Despite the tremendous success of the civil rights movement and significant gains in educational equality, the color line in public education remains both durable and devastating.

Racial inequality in American public education is not permanent, natural, fixed, or unchangeable. In fact, we believe that the time is ripe to eradicate (p.3) racial inequality in our public schools once and for all. A long history of successful reforms in American public schools prove that our current system can be improved. We believe that well-informed parents, students, teachers, administrators, and citizens can bring about revolutionary changes to the way we think about and run public schools in ways that will prioritize racial and social justice. Not only can we improve educational equality and dismantle institutionalized racism, but we can also strengthen the civic function of public education in a democracy.

Our study is distinctive in our interdisciplinary approach grounded in both history and philosophy. Through a historical lens in the first half of the book, we analyze how ideas about race influenced the creation and development of public schools from their formation in the mid-nineteenth century to the present; how educational discrimination played out very differently for African American, Native American, Latinx, and Asian American communities; and how educational activists in those communities sought educational equality, the in-school promotion of their distinctive cultures and heritages, self-determination, and—ambivalently and in different ways—school integration. Prominently featured in this social history are firsthand accounts of the courageous women, men, and students who fought against racial discrimination in public education and worked tirelessly to transform schools into institutions that came closer to the democratic ideal.

In the second philosophical half of the book, readers will grapple with what an equal education based on this history should and could look like. What is equal when education is equal? Is it opportunities to compete for unequal rewards in the job market? Or is it an array of intrinsic educational goods related to moral, personal, and civic growth?

How exactly does “race” interact with questions of educational equality? How does class-based injustice (for example, in housing, health, income, and wealth) inevitably play a part in racial injustice? What constitutes fair and appropriate reparations to communities who have suffered generations of discrimination in public (including educational) institutions?

We also tackle the most exalted and controversial ideal in the struggle for racial justice in education: school integration. Decades of civil rights activism focused specifically on this objective, although with significant variations among different communities. Yet when we look more closely, we see that disagreements over the desirability of integration were often caused by competing definitions—does integration simply mean students of different races attending schools together, or does it require that they be treated respectfully and equally inside the school? Does integration mean the eventual diminishing of racial and ethnic identities through assimilation, as the (p.4) early twentieth-century form of schooling often encouraged? Or does integration allow, or even require, the affirming of students’ distinct racial and ethnic identities that minority educational activists sought?

In addition, many citizens have questioned whether integration (in any of its forms) is required—or even beneficial—to the larger struggle for racial justice. Throughout American history, some people of color have argued for self-determination in education, specifically the right to control school administration, teacher hiring, curriculum development, discipline policies, and educational objectives. These activists vehemently oppose state-sponsored school segregation but are cautious in their support of deliberate school integration policies and sometimes advocate separate, community-controlled schools as a vital alternative.

In this book, we propose a conception of integration closely tied to egalitarian, civic-minded schools committed to the training of future citizens for a pluralistic democracy. This conception draws inspiration from the visionary educational activism we have described.8 But ultimately, we argue that unless and until the larger structures of race and class injustice in society as a whole are dismantled, it will be impossible to achieve both the goal of educational equality and the civic equality for which civic education aims.

Understanding Race

A thorough reckoning of racial inequality in American public schools necessitates a shared vocabulary for speaking about racial diversity and inequality. “Race” has traditionally referred to an intergenerational human group that differed from other such groups in visible physical features, ancestral origins in particular continents or regions (sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, East Asia), and attributes of temperament, character, and intelligence seen as inherent in their nature and thus immutable. Generally, these differing characteristics cast some groups as superior to others, resulting in a hierarchy in which every group is posited on a scale above or below one another. These false ideas have been used historically to deny basic rights, civic standing, and decent treatment to the groups regarded as inferior.9

But scientists today, including geneticists and physical anthropologists, agree that there are no races in this sense and that there never were. Groups that roughly contrast in visible characteristics and ancestral origins do not sufficiently differ from one another genetically for the massive distinctions in human characteristics required by this traditional understanding of race to exist.10 The very long and continual history of human migration means that people have always been mixing up the gene pool, and even geographically (p.5) isolated groups do not differ from one another genetically in substantial ways.

Many Americans at least consciously reject the idea of race and are somewhat aware that scientists have rejected it. Yet almost everyone, both believers and disbelievers in race, continues to use racial terminology such as “Black,” “Latino,” and “Asian” to refer to groups and individuals. Why is that? Shouldn’t we drop racial terminology entirely and refer to these groups and individuals in some other way—for example, as ethnic groups—African American, Mexican American, Korean American? Or perhaps we should just drop racial language entirely without putting anything else in its place. If race implies the possession of inherent psychological characteristics, but the groups we call races do not possess those characteristics, shouldn’t we stop using words that have that implication?

We think not. Racial terminology is still useful and even essential because the groups we call races were historically viewed and treated as if they did possess those characteristics. That treatment—in the case of Blacks, enslavement, segregation, and racial discrimination; of Mexicans, territorial annexation, segregation, and discrimination; of Native Americans, displacement, genocide, forced assimilation, and discrimination—was guided by a racial ideology that said these groups deserved inferior and harmful treatment because they were inferior to whites. These were false ideologies and ideas, but they had real influence on the historical experiences of Black, Mexican, Native American, Asian American, and white people. These groups were racialized by being treated as if they were races, and so we can call them not races but racialized groups. Therefore, we can think of “Black,” “white,” and “Native American” as referring to racialized groups, even though they once referred to groups thought of as actual races.11

People of color’s historical experiences with racialization are largely negative, characterized by oppression and discrimination. But racialized experiences have not been solely negative. They have also encompassed resistance to unjust treatment and the development of alternative ideologies committed to liberation and justice. Thus, political struggle against racial mistreatment also forms a part of racialized experience; slave rebellions, anticolonial struggles, and equal rights movements for racially subordinated peoples, as well as intellectual and artistic challenges to racist ideas and representations, all contribute to the foundation of a positive sense of peoplehood within a racialized group. If the meaning of race were confined to associations of superior and inferior racial groups, it would be incomprehensible why so many people conventionally understood as “black” identify with the (now-preferred) racial term Black, take pride in being Black, and cherish Black identity and solidarity. This usage instead expresses a positive (p.6) vision of shared identity among a group understood as racialized while rejecting the negative associations that accompany conceiving of Blacks as an actual race.12 Similarly, “white” can name a group that, while not viewed as inherently superior, is understood as benefiting in the present from the creation of an international historical racial order, rationalized by racial ideology. This hierarchy created a sense of racial solidarity for many white citizens and mobilized them to take action to protect their privilege. Understanding racial inequality in the long history of American public schools requires us to acknowledge these racialized identities and processes.

The challenge is to think of, and talk about, Black, white, Asian American, Latinx, and Native American people in ways that avoid attributing inherent characteristics to these identities, especially any that imply inherent superiority and inferiority, while recognizing that these groups have distinctive social and historical experiences. We have to acknowledge those historical and social differences and simultaneously wholly reject the racial ideology that informed them. It is true that retaining racial language, such as “Black,” “white,” “Native American,” and so forth, to name racialized groups has an unfortunate potentiality for reinforcing racial and racist ideas, even when the speaker disavows those conceptions. This is why scare quotes are sometimes used for terms like “Black” or “white” as a way of indicating that racialization rather than race is intended. But many people find that usage annoying and clumsy, and we will stick with the familiar terminology, reminding the reader that we use it to refer to racialized groups, not actual races.

For our book, we investigate the question of racial equality in public schools by focusing on four racialized minority groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Latinxs, and Asian Americans. Of course, white people play a prominent role in this history. We will use the term white, not Caucasian, to describe people of European descent, as the latter term, while more technical sounding, is a sinister holdover from the era of scientific racism. Everyone who does not identify as white will be described by the generic term people of color, which is distinct from the dated term colored people. Americans of African descent are described as Black or African American, and we often use these terms interchangeably, except when highlighting a more recent American Black ethnic group, such as Haitians or Cape Verdeans. The term Latinx recognizes a preferred gender-neutral form embraced by many younger Americans who are either from, or who have ancestry from, Latin America. Whenever relevant, we employ more specific ethnic identities such as Puerto Rican or Mexican American. Indigenous people in the United States often refer to themselves as American Indians or Indigenous Americans, but here we use the term Native American. These (p.7) terms are all contemporary, but at times we will cite historical documents that use other words to describe racial difference in America. Some of these terms, such as “Negro” or “colored,” were once the terms of choice for African Americans but are no longer appropriate today. Other terms of reference, needless to say, were deliberately demeaning or intended to shore up white supremacy.13

Race and American Education

Our analysis of racial equality in public schools focuses on the experiences and activism of people of color, specifically in African American, Native American, Latinx, and Asian American communities. It is worth noting, however, that some children from groups now thought of as white have also suffered racial discrimination in American schools. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American teachers viewed many European immigrants, including Jewish students, as racially distinct from the “native,” white Anglo-Saxon Protestant “stock.” These educators also frequently complained about the “racial traits” of immigrant children from Russia, Greece, Italy, and other European countries that Americans would now consider “white.” One New Jersey school administrator wrote in 1916, “The influx of foreigners, with their divergent personal ideals and antagonistic racial traits, imposes upon the schools an infinitely difficult problem.”14 And yet, even though certain white ethnic and religious groups faced discrimination based on perceived racial differences, they were nevertheless regarded officially as “white” under the 1790 naturalization law confining citizenship to “free white persons.”15 Although some educators may have viewed European immigrant students as racially distinct, they were still understood to be white and eligible for American citizenship—and the full benefits of a public education.16

Despite the hardships experienced by some white racialized minorities, people classified as “nonwhite” or “colored” suffered more severe exclusion, segregation, and deliberate and sustained educational discrimination. But which students qualified as “colored”? Although we might imagine the color line in education to be fairly obvious, with white people of European descent on one side and everyone else on the other “colored” side, the truth is more complex when examining American history. In order to separate students based on race—either by law, as was the case in the Jim Crow South, or through social pressure, as was the case in many other parts of the country—someone was required to do the dirty work of figuring out school assignments. Some schools in California, for example, decided to segregate Chinese American students from white students, while Japanese Americans (p.8) attended the “white” schools.17 Whites in Mississippi classified Chinese Americans as “colored” and sent them to school with Black children, when just across the river in neighboring Arkansas, school administrators considered Chinese American students as “white” and segregated them from Black students.18 In Virginia, precious resources were wasted to establish separate schools for white, Black, and Native American children—but administrators refused to allow Monacan Indians to attend any of these schools, as the racially mixed Monacans did not fit neatly into any category.19 The city of Houston, Texas, operated separate schools for white, Black, and Mexican American students well into the modern civil rights era.20 As this book will show, the color line in public education, while formidable, was also contradictory, ambiguous, illogical, and changed over time and across arbitrary borders. This inherent racial instability made public schools vulnerable, and educational activists used school boycotts, diplomatic pressure, petitions, and lawsuits to challenge unjust and discriminatory school segregation.21

Whites responded in kind, eager to maintain control over these venerable citizenship-training institutions as minority educational activism expanded in the early twentieth century. Public schools erupted as the sites of fierce culture wars over not only school segregation but also control of curriculum and pedagogy. From the common school era of the 1820s through the civil rights era of the 1960s, whites believed that proper education required the destruction of minority cultures, whether they were European, Native American, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Japanese, or African American. Schools were not apologetic in their aggressive assimilation of children; to the contrary, Americans expected public schools to forge a common culture out of a polyglot citizenry. Teachers understood it as their professional duty to “weld the many peoples of any community into one body politic and create throughout the nation the unity and power that come from common ideals, a common language, and a uniform interpretation of citizenship.”22 When teachers floundered, lawmakers stepped in to help. For instance, southwestern states outlawed the use of any non-English language in public schools in an effort to force Mexican American students to assimilate. More tragically, official US policy required Native Americans to surrender their children to government-run boarding schools for the explicit purpose of what amounts to cultural genocide.23

Although whites had the power to determine educational policies and curricula, students of color did not function as blank slates, passively receiving whatever education was doled out by school authorities. Students, parents, and community leaders developed formidable responses to educational (p.9) racism and fought to remake schools to suit their own purposes. Black educators quietly explained that white claims of racial superiority were false and taught Black children that the American dream was their birthright as well. “America means opportunity for the ambitious man to develop his power to the fullest extent,” insisted a southern Black teacher during the height of Jim Crow.24

When the Black civil rights movement erupted during World War II, grassroots coalitions of Black students, parents, teachers, and leaders organized to challenge racial injustice in schools and the larger society. “The time to sing the blues and play Uncle Tom is passed,” wrote an impassioned Black teacher in 1944. “Negroes, like all other real men, must win by their STRENGTH, rather than their WEAKNESS.”25 Although there were far fewer Latinx, Native American, and Asian American public school teachers during the era of school segregation, educational activists from these communities also worked to resist white oppression and remodel public education. The history of American education, therefore, reveals both how whites instituted racist practices in public schools and how people of color subverted these efforts and transformed local schools into institutions that reflected their own hopes and dreams for democratic public education.26

Chapter Summaries

Integrations: The Struggle for Racial Equality and Civic Renewal in Public Education begins with a historical analysis of racialized minorities in American public schools and then turns to philosophical considerations of equality, civic purpose, racial justice, and integration.

Chapter 1, “Segregation,” investigates the histories of African American, Native American, Mexican American, Chinese American, and Japanese American students from the earliest public schools through the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954. It demonstrates that white officials intentionally discriminated against students of color first by excluding them from early public schools, then by segregating them as access to public education expanded, and finally by attempting to limit the curriculum for students of color to “manual training” and industrial work. It also highlights how minority educational activists fought back through both direct legal and political attacks on segregated schools as well as more subtle forms of accommodation and resistance. A key finding is that while it was clear to all that segregated facilities engendered unequal opportunities, many activists nevertheless questioned integration as a solution, and some saw enormous (p.10) value in schools led by Black, Mexican American, or indigenous educators. World War II and the rising postwar civil rights movements centered new attention on segregated schools as a tool of white supremacy that must be abolished.

Chapter 2, “Desegregation,” opens in 1954 as the nation’s highest court proclaimed, “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”27 Although Brown is rightly celebrated as an epic civil rights milestone, its lasting influence on educational equality is less clear. Where school integration worked, especially in the South, educational inequality was significantly reduced, and the degree of positive interracial contact between students increased. But over time these gains were reversed, and many students of color never experienced the benefits of integrated schools. This chapter explores African American, Native American, Latinx, and Asian American struggles for more equitable and integrated schools after 1954. It also considers how and why people of color sometimes pursued alternatives to integration, such as community control, in hopes of attaining both educational equality as well as other goals like self-determination and community empowerment. We emphasize the tremendous educational victories in the post-Brown era while acknowledging that school desegregation did not achieve the intent of equalizing educational opportunities for all students of color. Chapter 2 emphasizes three key findings: first, that white citizens, often unapologetically, opposed school integration and equalization measures from 1954 to the present; second, that improvements in public education were a direct result of sustained educational activism by communities of color; and third, that over time educational activists developed multiple nuanced conceptions of school integration as one possible tactic, among many, to equalize public education. This long history of educational activism and the multiple visions of school integration that came out of it, we argue, provide crucial lessons for how to revive public education today.

Chapter 3, “Equality,” examines the ideal of equal education that rests at the center of racial justice in education. US citizens often see the idea of “opportunity” as the content of this ideal, but we argue that the American ideal of equality of opportunity is focused too narrowly on marketable skills and competition for rewards, omitting the distinctly educational value of what is learned in school. It also fails to provide students with the critical perspective, and the corresponding intellectual capabilities, to recognize injustice in society and form life goals without being beholden to current cultural structures and dominant values. We argue for a conception of “educational goods” (including the development of moral and civic capacities) (p.11) that are valuable in their own right, as well as to society, and that should and can be provided to every child through schooling.

We also argue that schools by themselves cannot create educational justice. Genuine educational equality can be only partially realized in a society as unjust and unequal as ours. Educational justice must ally with class-and race-focused initiatives and activism for economic, health, and housing justice. These initiatives must lift up families and students at the low end of the economic spectrum, curb the ability of advantaged families to hoard opportunities for themselves, and correct for a history of specifically racial injustices against students of color.

We ask what are the responsibilities of different constituencies—parents, students, teachers, citizens—to ensure that our public schools deliver on the promise of educational equality to all. And, finally, we confront some of the pedagogical challenges of teaching diverse students about struggles for historical and contemporary justice.

Chapters 4 and 5, “Integrations: The Capital Argument” and “Integrations: The Civic Argument,” explore the ideal of school integration as it relates to educational equality and racial justice. We suggest that integration should be thought of in the plural—as “integrations”—so that we can better evaluate its various forms. Does integration involve students of different racial identities learning together in the same schools, or does it require a more “ideal” definition that requires respect, welcoming, and concern across these racial divides? Various arguments have been given for integration in one or another of its forms. We will look in detail at a prominent contemporary argument—that disadvantaged students benefit from being in schools with advantaged students (the advantages in question can be either racial or class-based) because the latter possess more social, financial, and cultural “capital.” We find not only very little merit in this argument but also serious drawbacks. However, if a school takes a social justice perspective on society and education itself, capital benefits can be embraced without shaming disadvantaged families or encouraging a morally damaging sense of entitlement in advantaged families.

Ultimately, the strongest argument that we find for integration is civic in character, breathing renewed life into what has until recently been a central purpose of public education. Bringing diverse students into the same classes (which requires avoiding academic tracking) is the most secure foundation for developing students’ civic knowledge and capability, which will enable them to work together to enhance and promote justice within the multiracial democracy they share. At the same time, integrated schools must be able to protect and affirm the plurality of students’ racial and ethnic (p.12) identities, not adopt a color-blind (much less assimilationist) form of integration. This egalitarian civic integrationist pluralism provides the strongest foundation for pursuing racial equality in American public schools, but it requires a substantial reduction of overall inequality and correcting for historical racial injustice outside the school.


(1.) US Department of Education, “For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence” (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2013), 14.

(2.) James E. Ryan, Five Miles Away, a World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3. For information on the status of segregation today versus in 1970, see Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg, with Jongyeon Ee and John Kuscera, “Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future” (Los Angles: Civil Rights Project at University of California, Los Angeles, 2014), 11. A sample of the scholarship documenting the connection between racial segregation and inequality in schools includes Chandi Wagner, “School Segregation Then & Now: How to Move toward a More Perfect Union” (Alexandria, VA: Center for Public Education, 2017); Grover J. Whitehurst, Nathan Joo, Richard V. Reeves, and Edward Rodrigue, “Balancing Act: Schools, Neighborhoods and Racial Imbalance” (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2017); US Government Accountabilities Office, Report to Congressional Requesters, K-12 Education: Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination, GAO-16-345, April 21, 2016; Kristi L. Bowman, ed., The Pursuit of Racial and Ethnic Equality in American Public Schools: Mendez, Brown, and Beyond (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015); Amanda E. Lewis and John B. Diamond, Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); Orfield and Frankenberg, “Brown at 60”; Richard Rothstein, “Education and the Unfinished March: For Public Schools, Segregation Then, Segregation Since” (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2013); Sean F. Reardon, Elena Tej Grewal, Demetra Kalogrides, and Erica Greenberg, “Brown Fades: The End of Court-Ordered School Desegregation and the Resegregation of American Public Schools,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31, no. 4 (2012): 876–904; Douglas N. Harris, “Lost Learning, Forgotten Promises: A National Analysis of School Racial Segregation, Student Achievement, and ‘Controlled Choice’ Programs” (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2006); Jonathan Kozol, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (New York: Random House, 2005); Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education (p.190) and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Charles T. Clotfelter, After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

(3.) W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903; repr., New York: Dover Publications, 1994), v.

(4.) Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (New York: W. W. Norton, 2017), vii–viii.

(5.) US Department of Education, “For Each and Every Child,” 13. Reports on Native American academic achievement reveal significant gaps for Native American eighth graders in reading and math. Steven Nelson, Richard Greenough, and Nicole Sage, Achievement Gap Patterns of Grade 8 American Indian and Alaska Native Students in Reading and Math, Issues & Answers Report, REL 2009-No. 073, US Department of Education (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2009). See also John J. Laukaitis, Community Self-Determination: American Indian Education in Chicago, 1952–2006 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015); Executive Office of President Barack Obama, “2014 Native Youth Report,” December 2014, p. 3, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED565658; US Department of Education, Indian Nation at Risk Task Force, Indian Nations at Risk: An Educational Strategy for Action (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, October 1991), http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/oieresearch/research/natatrisk/report.pdf.

(6.) Ellen D. Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013); Stacey J. Lee, Unraveling the Model Minority Stereotype: Listening to Asian American Youth, 2nd ed. (New York: Teachers College Press, 2009); Rosalind S. Chou and Joe R. Feagin, The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2008), 55–99.

(7.) Derrick Darby and John L. Rury, The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018).

(8.) Elizabeth Todd-Breland, A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018); Zoë Burkholder, “Integrated Out of Existence: African American Debates over School Integration versus Separation at the Bordentown School in New Jersey, 1886–1955,” Journal of Social History 51, no. 1 (2017): 47–79; Leah N. Gordon, From Power to Prejudice: The Rise of Racial Individualism in Midcentury America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Sonya Douglass Horsford, Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)Integration (New York: Teachers College Press, 2011); Clarence Taylor, “Conservative and Liberal Opposition to the New York City School-Integration Campaign,” in Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era, ed. Clarence Taylor (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 95–117; Thomas J. Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (New York: Random House, 2008); Adam Fairclough, A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Matthew J. Countryman, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 223–57; Davison M. Douglas, Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle over Northern School Segregation, (p.191) 1865–1954 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 173–79; Jack Dougherty, More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 9–33; Adam Fair-clough, “The Costs of Brown: Black Teachers and School Integration,” Journal of American History 91, no. 1 (2004): 43–55; Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 223–49; Vivian Gunn Morris and Curtis L. Morris, The Price They Paid: Desegregation in an African American Community (New York: Teachers College Press, 2002); Jerald E. Podair, The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean-Hill Brownsville Crisis (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), 22–27; Diane Ravitch, The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 251–380; Derrick A. Bell Jr., “The Burden of Brown on Blacks: History-Based Observations on a Landmark Decision,” North Carolina Central Law Review 7 (1975): 25–38.

(9.) Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (New York: Nation Books, 2016); Audrey Smedley and Brian D. Smedley, Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview, 4th ed. (New York: Westview Press, 2012); George M. Fredrickson, Racism: A Short History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002).

(10.) This rejection of race does not preclude the possibility of statistical (rather than absolute) genetic differences (for example, in susceptibility for certain diseases) among groups conventionally viewed as races. Although some scientists continue to use the terminology of “race” for groups defined by these statistical differences, many others think that doing so both misleads the public about the existence of races in the traditional sense and also misrepresents the character of the groups in question and of the attributed characteristics. See Dorothy Roberts, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the 21st Century (New York: New Press, 2012).

(11.) The point about racialized groups is sometimes stated by saying that races are “social constructions” rather than real biological entities. We prefer the “racialized group” terminology because every human institution and many human groups are socially constructed. Nations and ethnicities are “constructed” in the sense that they are historical products whose character is defined by human convention and generally have somewhat undefined and permeable boundaries. But race differs from national and ethnic categories because the whole idea of race rests on a deep falsehood. This is not true of nations or ethnic groups. There really are nations and ethnic groups, even if people sometimes think about them in incorrect ways. But there are not races. In this book, we will often refer to the groups in question as “racial groups,” preferring a more neutral and familiar construction, but we understand these as racialized groups.

(12.) Tommie Shelby, We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), explores racial solidarity among those regarding themselves as belonging to a racialized group. Linda Martín Alcoff, Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), makes a somewhat similar argument with respect to Latinxs.

(p.192) (13.) Ed Morales, Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture (New York: Verso, 2018); Paul Ortiz, An African American and Latinx History of the United States (New York: Beacon Press, 2018); Catalina (Kathleen) M. deOnís, “What’s in an ‘x’?: An Exchange about the Politics of ‘Latinx,’” Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures 1, no. 2 (2017): 78–91; Erika Lee, The Making of Asian America: A History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015); Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (New York: Beacon Press, 2015); John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011); Tim Wise, White like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, 3rd ed. (Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2011).

(14.) M. Snyder, “Schools a Target for Critics,” New York Times, September 24, 1916, 21; Frank Cody, “Americanization Courses in the Public Schools,” English Journal 7, no. 10 (1918): 615. See also Alice N. Gibbons, “An International-Relations Club,” Social Education 1, no. 6 (1937): 398–400; William T. Stone, “Education in International Affairs,” Social Education 1, no. 4 (1937): 271–72; “International Understanding—A Symposium,” New Jersey Educational Review 3, no. 4 (1930): 19–22.

(15.) Ian Haney-Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

(16.) Lawrence Blum, High Schools, Race, and America’s Future: What Students Can Teach Us about Morality, Diversity, and Community (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2012); Zoë Burkholder, Color in the Classroom: How American Schools Taught Race, 1900–1954 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). See also Zoë Burkholder, “Education for Citizenship in a Bi-racial Civilization: Black Teachers and the Social Construction of Race, 1929–1954,” Journal of Social History 46, no. 2 (2012): 335–63; David R. Roediger, Working toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White (New York: Basic Books, 2005); Thomas A. Guglielmo, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color and Power in Chicago, 1890–1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White (New York: Routledge, 1995).

(17.) Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989), 200–205.

(18.) Leslie Bow, Partly Colored: Asian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South (New York: New York University Press, 2010), 96–103; James W. Loewen, The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 64–68.

(19.) Elizabeth Gillespie McRae, Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 28–40; Melanie D. Haimes-Bartolf, “The Social Construction of Race and Monacan Education in Amherst County, Virginia, 1908–1965: Monacan Perspectives,” History of Education Quarterly 47, no. 4 (2007): 389–415.

(20.) Guadalupe San Miguel Jr., Brown Not White: School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston (Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2001).

(21.) Douglas, Jim Crow Moves North, 12–60; Horace Mann Bond, The (p.193) Education of the Negro in the American Social Order (1934; repr., New York: Octagon Books, 1970), 367–90; US Office of Education, History of Schools for the Colored Population (1871; repr., New York: Arno Press, 1969), 301–400; Carter G. Woodson, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, 2nd ed. (1919; repr., New York: Arno Press, 1968), 229–55; Leon Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790–1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 113–52.

(22.) Cody, “Americanization Courses,”620. On the assimilationist goals of public schools, see Jeffrey Mirel, Patriotic Pluralism: Americanization Education and European Immigrants (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010); Diana Selig, Americans All: The Cultural Gifts Movement (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008). On debates over these assimilationist goals, see Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); Jonathan Zimmerman, Whose America: Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002). On the complexities of educating nonwhite students in institutions dedicated to citizenship training, see Hilary J. Moss, Schooling Citizens: The Struggle for African American Education in Antebellum America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Teresa L. McCarty, To Remain an Indian: Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 2006); James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988); Carl E. Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780–1860 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983).

(23.) Dunbar-Ortiz, Indigenous Peoples’ History; Richard R. Valencia, Chicano Students and the Courts: The Mexican American Legal Struggle for Educational Equality (New York: New York University Press, 2008); Angela Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999); Guadalupe San Miguel Jr. and Richard R. Valencia, “From the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to Hopwood: The Educational Plight and Struggle of Mexican Americans in the Southwest,” Harvard Educational Review 68, no. 3 (1998): 353–412; David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875–1928 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995); Robert Trennert, The Phoenix Indian School: Forced Assimilation in Arizona, 1891–1935 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988); Frederick Hoxie, The Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880–1920 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984).

(24.) Theodora C. Williams, “Is This the Land of Opportunity?,” School Work (Department of Principals of the Palmetto State Teachers, South Carolina) 1, no. 1 (1935): 19. See also Fairclough, A Class of Their Own.

(25.) “Interracial Cooperation at Work,” Broadcaster 11, no. 2 (1938): 24, emphasis in original. For more on Black teachers challenging racism, see Burkholder, “Education for Citizenship.”

(26.) Rachel Devlin, A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools (New York: Basic Books, 2018); Vanessa Siddle Walker, The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools (New York: New Press, 2018); Adrienne Berard, Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate in the Jim Crow South (Boston: Beacon Press, 2016); Jon Hale, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (New (p.194) York: Columbia University Press, 2016); Dionne Danns, Michelle A. Purdy, and Christopher M. Span, eds., Using Past as Prologue: Contemporary Perspectives on African American Educational History (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2015); Mario T. Garcia and Sal Castro, Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Guadalupe San Miguel, Chicana/o Struggles for Education: Activism in the Community (Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2013); Lomawaima and McCarty, To Remain an Indian; Brenda J. Child, Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900–1940 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000); Adams, Education for Extinction.

(27.) Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).