Critical Race Pedagogy 2.0: Lessons from Derrick Bell

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Race Ethnicity and Education

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In this article, we attempt to honor the rich legacy of Derrick Bell by detailing how exploring his specific contributions to critical race theory (CRT) provided lessons for developing and refining critical race pedagogy (CRP). We examine Bell’s racial realism thesis in connection with his pedagogical work. In doing so, we find that he was as committed to developing a ‘community-based’ law classroom as he was to articulating a strong critique of the law (Radice 1991). As part of his teaching philosophy, Bell wrote extensively about the value and importance of a student-centered humanist pedagogy (Bell 1980, 1982, 1997; Bell and Edmonds 1993; Delgado and Stefancic 2005). We draw parallels between Bell’s humanist student-centered pedagogy and the tenets of CRP as a way to expand the accessibility of this framework. Finally, as the ultimate homage to the work of Derrick Bell, we end with a futuristic mini-chronicle that takes place in a school district boardroom. The chronicle features a fictitious character who happens to be a distant relative of Bell’s. As we will discuss, we believe that the use of chronicles and storytelling hold the possibility for helping us to name extant challenges and illuminate further possibilities of CRP as a tool for battling globalized oppression at the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality in education.


Copyright (2013) Taylor & Francis


*At the of publication, Marvin Lynn was affiliated with Indiana University South



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