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“America at School” Critical Analysis Through the Lens of CRT-Interest Convergence

The article “America at school” published on the Library of Congress Digital Collection (n.d.) website concerns the issue of racial segregation in American schools of the 20th century. This topic is strongly related to the idea of “interest convergence,” a term created by Derrick Bell, a law professor and the author of the critical race theory. ‘Interest convergence’ states that only when white and black interests converge, black people civil rights win (Bell, 2004). This essay analyzes American school segregation and educational expansion through the lens of this theory.

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Brown v. Board of Education is the most famous example of interest convergence, as it is believed that this case occurred only because it benefited white interests as well. Brown v. Board of Education case consisted in the fact that in 1954 the Supreme Court outlawed de jure segregation of public schools because the interests of Black civil rights coincided for a brief time with the interests of White elites (Shih, 2017). In general, the main explanation is that the country needed to reinforce its image as democratic and anticommunist so that the educational expansion could maintain white socioeconomic advantage.

This theory remains relevant also nowadays as there is a point of view which states that diversity policies in education nowadays are mostly in favor of educational institutions. One of the reasons is the fact that international students are the ones paying higher tuition fees, and universities will struggle financially if they do not promote diversity and inclusion. It is worth taking a closer look at the educational expansion opportunity for African Americans and other minority students.

The article “America at School” claims that the public education policies were designed to ‘Americanise’ the immigrant children, sometimes even separating them from their families (America at school, n.d.). The marginalized groups were African Americans, American-Indians, immigrant, and working-class families. Although it might be seen as a favorable condition for those people as it gives children an opportunity to archive a better future level of life, the situation is more complicated. After the Civil War, increasing number of parents wanted their children to attend education and get white-collar jobs in the future. However, the education expansion policies were created not as an acceptance of diversity among children with different backgrounds but as a way to destroy the difference and assimilate the immigrant or people of color children into local white culture.

The article also states that those schools for African Americans had very poor conditions. For instance, sometimes children could even be constrained to be separated from any other American Indian influence. It is an example of interest convergence as education for African American people or even immigrants was provided by the Federal government only in favor of white culture and to avoid diversification and foreign influence on the local sociocultural picture.

In general, on the topic of educational opportunity expansion, it seems to be impossible to say that only marginalized groups benefited from that. An interest convergence explanation offers many advantages as it clarifies why governmental policies of desegregation and making education available for minorities were far from being genuine support of human rights. However, nevertheless, it has to be said that even if behind that decision the government had not the best motivations, it was still a big step in archiving social justice and human rights equalities for American society.

References

Bell, D. (2004). Silent covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the unfulfilled hopes for racial reform. Oxford University Press.

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Shih, D. (2017). A theory to better understand diversity, and who really benefits. NPR. Web.

Library of Congress Digital Collection. (n.d.). America at school. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "“America at School” Critical Analysis Through the Lens of CRT-Interest Convergence." September 18, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/america-at-school-critical-analysis-through-the-lens-of-crt-interest-convergence/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“America at School” Critical Analysis Through the Lens of CRT-Interest Convergence." September 18, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/america-at-school-critical-analysis-through-the-lens-of-crt-interest-convergence/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“America at School” Critical Analysis Through the Lens of CRT-Interest Convergence'. 18 September.

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