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Educating Students about Affirmative Action: An Analysis of University Sociology Texts

Mark Beeman, Geeta Chowdhry and Karmen Todd
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 98-115
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1319258
Page Count: 18
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Educating Students about Affirmative Action: An Analysis of University Sociology Texts
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Abstract

Affirmative action policy in the United States has recently come under intense political attack. Opponents have developed strategies to eliminate affirmative action using state referendums, often engaging in misleading public campaigns. In this political atmosphere, the role of education is significant. For many of our students, introductory sociology may be one of the few courses in which they are exposed to serious academic discussions about affirmative action. We examine the extent to which sociology texts accurately present affirmative action policy in the United States using a sample of introductory texts published from 1994 through 1997. We critically examine whether material presented either confronts or contributes to widespread myths about affirmative action policy. We conclude by offering practical suggestions to strengthen affirmative action presentations in sociology texts, including drawing upon significant empirical and theoretical sociological literature about affirmative action too often ignored by textbook authors.

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