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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 Seventeen: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! Indicting Remedial Education

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!

Indicting Remedial Education

NAOMI W. NISHI



CONTEXT

On the day he was shot by a White Ferguson police officer, Michael Brown was eight days past high school graduation, and anticipating college classes the following Monday. Having attended a high school described as “beleaguered” (Sumner, 2014), it was a feat that Brown had stayed in school and graduated. Yet, although likely excited at his accomplishments and prospects, Brown was planning to attend Vatterott College, a local for-profit college with a scathing record of misleading its mostly poor students of color and allowing them to rack up significant debt in pursuit of what was, for some, a useless diploma and limited job prospects (Halperin, 2014).

Had Michael Brown enrolled in a community college, he likely would have had to take remedial courses, given the lack of advanced-level courses offered at his high school (Klein, 2014). This would have saved him from the crippling debt he might have accrued at Vatterott, but how difficult would it have been for him to persist through the barrage of non-credit courses blocking him from a college career?

Remedial education, the need for it and its failings, is a popular concern of higher education administrators, policymakers, faculty, staff, and students. But less attention is paid to the disproportionate number of Black and Brown students (Shaw, 1997; Sparks & Malkus, 2013) who are blocked from college...

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