Race in the Schoolyard: negotiating the color line in classrooms and communities Amanda Lewis Introduction: America is the motherland of democracy. Though it is the land of equality in diversity, the American culture cannot be called completely unbiased or colour-blind…
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Amanda Lewis, a sensible professor of sociology has tried to focus on the same issue in her research she conducted in American schools. Amanda Lewis, in her African American studies, explains that the racial discrimination still exists in American schools. It is explained in her sophisticated and a compelling ethnography called “Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Colour Line in Classrooms and Communities.” Lewis especially focuses on the curriculum, both expressed and hidden, gives racial lessons. This book is associated with the problem of racial discrimination in schools. Keywords: Democracy, racism, schoolyards, racial lessons, racial discrimination. After finishing her commitment in teaching urban schools as well as the teaching program, Amanda Lewis went to the elementary schools for starting her research project. The school where Lewis conducted the research was the school of half black and half white students. The white students were mainly from middle and upper middle class whereas the blacks were from working class and poor families. Amanda in her research explains how expressed and hidden, both lessons taught in the school convey the racial message. “I look at not only the explicit curriculum in the school but the multiple lessons about race, racial difference and sameness and racial equality offered in both overt and implicit ways by staff, parents, and children.” (Pg. 12) The principal of Foresthills gave the list of the textbooks which had been prescribed by the State. The activities conducted in the classroom were based on the racial discrimination. They consisted of “Black History Week” or the practice of counting 10 in multiple languages during physical education class. The skits also had been performed in the classroom which used to be based on racism. Mrs. Moch’s class had constructed posters about famous African Americans. The Black Month was celebrated in school by giving the students different activities of posters in which could display the knowledge of students about African Americans. The teacher’s lessons were somewhat ambivalent. Amanda told about her that she asked the students to have compassion with Spanish motivations and Native American suppression. Amanda quotes the explanation of Mrs. Moch as follows: Well, let’s see, we start off with things like California Native Americans. And I do not have a high opinion of Junipero Serra ......You know. I talk about genocide. I talk about whether it was deliberate genocide, or it was because the Spanish knew that they had a higher moral .... sense. And therefore were going to use force, but that it still was wrong. But it was right in their eyes historically, and therefore, you know you have to look at it that way. I don look for and purchase as many books as I can that have representations of color, in California. Particularly in California, but in general .... and have them available for kids, so that they see it was, was not a state or country that was ever really White. It never was. It never will be. Uh ...... and it shouldn’t be. Here in this lesson she was especially focussing on colour-blind race talk, which masks an underlying reality of racial practices as well as colour-conscious understanding. The racial lessons are offered in overt and implicit ways by school staff, teachers and even the parents. In the content, discourse, and practices of the curriculum, Amanda Lewis claims that there is hidden education of race.
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