The importance of a race-critical perspective in the classroom

Joyce M. Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Sociologists have a disciplinary mandate to always consider the relationship between the individual and social forces. This means that what sociology has to offer students in courses about race, that is different from other disciplines, is a focus on the structural nature of race. Because of this unique ability of sociology as a discipline to illuminate the social aspects of race relations, it is crucial that sociologists use the tools available to us to help students break out of individualistic ways of thinking about race. In this chapter I argue that without a structural approach to teaching race relations, we run the risk of confirming the validity of white privilege, normalizing existing race relations, and supporting the myth of an American meritocracy. To avoid this, this chapter develops a model for a race-critical approach to teaching the sociology of race that is focused on structure, historically contextualized, and critical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTeaching Race and Anti-Racism in Contemporary America
Subtitle of host publicationAdding Context to Colorblindness
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789400771017
ISBN (Print)9789400771000
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014.


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