Critical Race Theory in Education: All God's Children Got a Song

Critical Race Theory in Education: All God's Children Got a Song

Critical Race Theory in Education: All God's Children Got a Song

Critical Race Theory in Education: All God's Children Got a Song


Although Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been used to analyze difficult issues of race and racism in education for over ten years, the function of CRT in educational research is still not entirely clear. By bringing together the voices of various CRT scholars and education experts, this volume presents a comprehensive chorus of answers to the question of how and why CRT should be applied to educational scholarship. The collected chapters address CRT's foundations in legal theory, current applications of CRT, and possible new directions for CRT in education. Appropriate for both students curious about CRT and established CRT scholars, Critical Race Theory in Educationis a valuable guide to how CRT can help us better understand and seek solutions to educational inequity.


Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re trying to wash us away,
They’re trying to wash us away

Randy Newman, songwriter (1974)

It has happened to all of us at least once. There is a song, an expression or an image that gets stuck in our brains. As a consequence, we cannot stop singing it, saying it, or seeing it. A few months ago on a transatlantic flight I saw the film “Walk the Line,” a biographical film of country-western singer Johnny Cash. It seems like every time I walked out to the parking lot I start humming “we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper spout.” This is the first line to the song “Jackson” (Lieber and Edd-Wheeler, 1967), which Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon sing in the film. I do not particularly like the song; I just cannot get it out of my mind.

Something else is stuck in my mind—Hurricane Katrina and the abandonment of the people of the Gulf Coast regions, particularly those in New Orleans. Some might say that it makes sense to still carry the images of the Katrina disaster. After all, it was the worst natural disaster to strike the United States. I watched coverage on the BBC (I was in London at the time the hurricane hit), CNN World and my local news (once I returned to the U.S.). I read newspaper and news magazine accounts. I listened to National Public Radio coverage of the disaster. But it is not merely the disaster that keeps me fixated on New Orleans, it is what the aftermath has come to symbolize. If my mind were drawn to disaster and horror I would carry images of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, D.C. As with the Katrina disaster I watched, read and listened to available news outlets. But, September 11th has faded for me. I can go to New York and Washington, D.C. without fear or sadness. But thoughts of New Orleans provoke a range of emotions—anger, fear, sadness and confusion. New Orleans is emblematic of the Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education analysis I have been attempting to put forth for more than a decade.

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