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RIP Jim Crow

Fighting Racism through Higher Education Policy, Curriculum, and Cultural Interventions

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Edited By Virginia Stead

Together we can build enough momentum to see Jim Crow lying silent and still in his grave.
This book shouts out ways that we can and must respond to the sickening accumulation of racially inspired and systemically sanctioned deaths. Today, we remember the passing of young, Black Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In responding to this event, we are determined to dismantle the alexithymia (indifference to the suffering of others) that pervades our campuses. It is nothing less than a by-product of racism protected by the illusion of democracy.
RIP Jim Crow contains three sections: (1) Antiracist Theory and Policy; (2) Antiracist Administration, Curriculum, and Pedagogy; and (3) Antiracist Cultural Interventions.
Each of the 31 chapters contributes to the normalization of anti-racist policy within academic institutions, antiracist discourse within academic cultures, and institutional praxis that upholds speaking out against racist activity. The hope is that this book will also reduce racism in the broader world through academic relationships with community partners.
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Chapter Eleven: Toward a Kinder and Gentler Ivory Tower

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Toward A Kinder AND Gentler Ivory Tower

JENNIFER L. MARTIN AND MARTINA L. SHARP-GRIER



BACKGROUND

The election of President Barack Obama in 2008, for many, solidified the notion that we live in a postracial America, where the “racial injustices of the past are perceived as rectified” (López, 2010, p. 1023). The idea of “post-race” presumes color-blindness, where racial and minority group membership is minimized or outright ignored (Plaut, Thomas, & Goren, 2009). Color-blindness is an ill-conceived notion that is often touted as a method of building social cohesion, but serves only to ignore identity in any true sense in exchange for the simplistic sentiment “We are all human.” Such an outlook explicitly ignores, downplays, and invalidates the individual and collective experiences based upon racial, cultural, and other differences, and validates only the dominant ideology of the hegemonic majority. According to this mindset, those possessing dominant identities (read: White people) do not have to consider their privilege or the subjugation of others because, in this postracial milieu, race no longer matters.

It comes as no surprise that with postracial and color-blind ideology have come challenges to political correctness and the demonization of social justice pedagogies (Gutstein, 2003) and inclusive diversity programs. Results of these challenges have included the piecemeal dismantling of affirmative action legislation, the increase of anti-immigration legislation and attitudes, and the limiting of academic freedom for educators. These setbacks in the pursuit of racial...

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