Commonsense understandings of equality and social change: A critical race theory analysis of liberalism at Spruce Middle School

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7 Scopus citations


Drawing on data from an ethnographic study in an urban district in the state of Utah, this article highlights how liberalism shapes educational policy and practice in particular ways that ultimately reproduce and legitimate the status quo of whiteness. I employ critical race theory to analyze two aspects of liberalism that are especially pervasive among US educators: first, formal equality, and second, the notion that change is either unneeded or, at best, should be incremental. Both of these liberal tenets result in racialized patterns within schools that become common sense despite their destructive nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-768
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009



  • Critical race theory
  • Inequity
  • Liberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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