High Schools, Race, and America’s Future

High Schools, Race, and America’s Future What Students Can Teach Us About Morality, Diversity, and Community

Lawrence Blum, foreword by Gloria Ladson-Billings
Pub. Date: September 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-467-4
paper, 272 Pages
Pub. Date: September 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-465-0
Price: $32.00

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In High Schools, Race, and America’s Future, Lawrence Blum offers a lively account of a rigorous high school course on race and racism.


How can we talk honestly about race? How can we make a classroom rigorous and exciting? There’s no better answer to both questions than this account of philosopher and college professor Larry Blum’s gutsy foray into teaching a public high school course on race and racism. There is much to learn from this book. — Martha Minow, dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor, Harvard Law School

It is a formidable task to write a book about the fraught issue of race that both scholars and the general public will be engaged and inspired by. In this sophisticated yet accessible book, the distinguished philosopher Lawrence Blum has more than met the challenge. — Tommie Shelby, professor of philosophy and African and African American studies, Harvard University

Blum is a sensitive and thoughtful author who has written a fascinating book. He clearly knows a lot about the history of race and how to talk and write about it. The combination of rich intellectual material and his description of life in the classroom is unique. High Schools, Race, and America’s Future will inspire a wide range of readers and serve as a model for those interested in teaching—or learning—about race. — Ronald F. Ferguson, senior lecturer on education and public policy and faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University

Blum has given us a rich description of an educational approach that contributes to the moral growth of students and positive social relations in larger society. Reading this impressive account of young people talking generously with each other about race—across racial lines—should renew our hope for a more genuinely democratic future. — Nel Noddings, professor emerita, Stanford University

If the United States is to live up to its potential as the most racially and ethnically diverse democracy on the planet, we will need more classes like the one described in this book. — Amy Stuart Wells, professor of sociology and education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Blum's good ideas should get in the hands of many teachers, administrators, and parents who want to try such things in schools, or to evaluate or rethink their current practices...This class is a powerful metaphor for a racially literate society, as well as a thoughtful narrative of a valuable educational experiment — Sophie Bell, Radical Teacher

The personal nature of racial identity for the students and their candid and poignant reflections on race are among the many strengths of this engaging book. Although of special interest to teachers involved in inner-city education, the book has much to offer general readers. — K. Ryan, CHOICE

Blum is to be commended for the manner in which his book and course move across and between many “borders” that academics rarely cross... The book is an accessible one I strongly recommend for academics across the related fields and high school teachers, and I dare say high school students themselves--if they are looking for a challenging but relevant book. Taking his own advice, Blum leaves his comfort zone to reach new audiences, and to work across fields and sites to make an exemplary contribution. — Tatyana Kleyn, Teachers College Record

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About the Author

Lawrence Blum is the Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education and a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has written extensively on race and racism, moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, philosophy of education, moral education, multicultural education, philosophy and the Holocaust, race and film, moral emotions, and other topics. He is the author of four books—Friendship, Altruism, and Morality (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980), A Truer Liberty: Simone Weil and Marxism (with V. J. Seidler) (Routledge, 1989), Moral Perception and Particularity (Cambridge University Press, 1994), and “I’m Not a Racist, But . . .”: The Moral Quandary of Race (Cornell University Press, 2002), which was selected as the Social Philosophy Book of the Year by the North American Society for Social Philosophy. Blum has also taught at Teachers College, Stanford School of Education, and UCLA (in philosophy). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Syllabus, Readings, and Assignments for “Race and Racism” (PDF)

"Five Things High School Students Should Know About Race" in Harvard Education Letter

"Talking About Race with South African Students" by Lawrence Blum

E-book available through online booksellers

Table of Contents

Interview with Author

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Hope and Healing

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