Article of the Month: From Racial Liberalism to Racial Literacy

Posted: April 16, 2012 by Donna Bivens in Uncategorized

As the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project unfolds, we want to stay true to our tagline of truth, learning and change.   All of us who have been a part of the project have learned a tremendous amount already. There is so much scholarship on the era, huge archives of historical records, many events that looked back at the era and countless stories and perspectives that may have been overlooked or unexamined. The learning part of the Project is to engage all these wonderful resources and come to new understandings.

To that end, we are going to start sharing an article or other resource each month that has stood out to us for its power in deepening our understanding. The first article we’re sharing is From Racial Liberalism to Racial Literacy : Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Divergence Dilemma by Lani Guinier. This article has been foundational for us because it so clearly articulated the complexity we’ve been encountering as we’ve tried to understand Boston’s desegregation crisis and put it in a larger historical and political perspective.

It’s a pretty academic article but it echoes so much of what we’ve heard directly or indirectly during our quest to better understand the crises that have come with our nation’s going from a legally segregated public school system to a legally desegregated one. While we know this isn’t the only dynamic that must be considered to understand the Boston busing/desegregation crisis, it is surely a major presenting one that is key to setting the context for the crisis.

Since this is a pretty intense academic article, we’ve pulled out some quotes to give you an overview of the article and perhaps, guide your reading. We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, insights about what’s written here. Feel free to add your comments to the blog or to be in touch with us by phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you!

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