Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after Brown by Karolyn TysonIntegration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after Brown by Karolyn Tyson

Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after Brown

byKarolyn Tyson

Paperback | February 28, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 197 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


There is lots of popular and scholarly concern today about why black students aren't doing better in school. The most popular explanation, the "acting white" thesis, is that they have a culture that rejects achievement--that students' peer cultures hold them back. As Karolyn Tyson convincinglydemonstrates, that is not the main or even a central explanation of black academic underachievement. Instead of looking at the students, Tyson argues that when and where students understand race to be connected with achievement, it is a powerful, if indirect, lesson conveyed by schools. Integration Interrupted focuses on the consequences, particularly for black students, of the practice of curriculum tracking in the post-Brown era, and on the relationship between racialized tracking and the emergence of academic excellence as a "white thing." Desegregation may have been officiallyoutlawed over fifty years ago, but race now determines which classes students are in: black students are typically placed in general and remedial classes and whites in advanced classes. In effect, same school, but different schooling. Right after Brown, it was easy to see the deliberate use oftracking to separate kids in schools that courts had mandated integrated. The practice still exists in many schools, though perhaps exercised more subtly, but with same outcome-tracking, including gifted and magnet programs, contributes to distinct racial patterns in achievement. Through ten years of classroom observations and hundreds of interviews with students, parents, and school personnel in thirty schoools, Tyson found that only in very specific circumstances, when black students were drastically underrrepresented in advanced and gifted classes, did anxieties about"the burden of acting white" emerge. But "acting white" is not the only nor the most important consequence of tracking for black students. Tyson reveals how the practice influences high achieving black students' conceptions of racial identity, achievement, and getting ahead; what courses they enrollin, who their friends are, and how they navigate peer pressure with being studious. In short, they face many of the same challenges as white youths face but with significant additional burdens.The rich narratives on the lived experience of black students in Integration Interrupted throw light on the complex relationships underlying the academic performance of black students and convincingly demonstrates that the problem lies not with students, but instead with how we organize ourschools.
Karolyn Tyson is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapell Hill.
Title:Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after BrownFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:February 28, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199736456

ISBN - 13:9780199736454

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgements1. Introduction: Desegregation without Integration2. Everyday Experience, Culture, and Acting White3. Becoming a Cultural Object: Academic Achievement and Acting White among Black Students4. Susceptibility to Oppositional Peer Cultures5. Belonging: Course Selection and Race in the Age of Laissez Faire Tracking6. Conclusion: Restoring the Promise of BrownNotesReferencesIndex