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Deconstructing Race

Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind

Jabari Mahiri James A. Banks

240 pages
Teachers College Press
How do socially constructed concepts of race dominate and limit understandings and practices of multicultural education? Since race is socially constructed, how do we deconstruct it? In this important book Mahiri argues that multicultural education needs to move beyond racial categories defined and sustained by the ideological, social, political, and economic forces of white supremacy. Exploring contemporary and historical scholarship on race, the emergence of multiculturalism, and the rise of the digital age, the author investigates micro-cultural practices and provides a compelling framework for understanding the diversity of individuals and groups. Descriptions and analysis from ethnographic interviews reveal how people’s continually evolving, highly distinctive, micro-cultural identities and affinities provide understandings of diversity not captured within assigned racial categories. Synthesizing the scholarship and interview findings, the final chapter connects the play of micro-cultures in people’s lives to a needed shift in how multicultural education uses race to frame and comprehend diversity and identity and provides pedagogical examples of how this shift can look in teaching practices.
Author Bio
Jabari Mahiri is a professor of education and the William and Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his work with the Multicultural Urban Secondary English Program and the Bay Area Writing Project, he is on the board of the National Writing Project and also a board member of the American Educational Research Association, 2014 through 2017.