ERIC Number: EJ911508
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 84
Escaping Devil's Island: Confronting Racism, Learning History
Grant, Carl A.
Race, Ethnicity and Education, v14 n1 p33-49 Jan 2011
This article argues that African Americans, especially males living in urban areas, are physically and mentally trapped on a Devil's Island. The penal colony on the coast of French Guiana is a metaphor for the boundaries and constraints that close off opportunities and constrain African American historical knowledge. The article argues that although African Americans have struggled to learn their history (e.g. economic, political and social), the goal of critically using that history to decipher their social world eludes them. While social movements of the twentieth century produced some racial progress, none of them generated enough progress to eliminate the racism that keeps Blacks on Devil's Island--racism that includes widely accepted mantras such as "the United States is a Nation of Immigrants," a historical "sin of omission" that markets racism as merely prejudice within the context of pluralism and makes it more difficult for Whites to address the privilege their skin color provides and to acknowledge the structures in society that keep racism in place.
Descriptors: African Americans, Racial Bias, Figurative Language, Urban Areas, Immigrants, Males, African American History, Social Change, Cultural Pluralism, Social Structure, Rhetoric
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A