Interests and Opportunities: Race, Racism, and University Writing Instruction in the Post-Civil Rights Era
In the late 1960s, colleges and universities became deeply embroiled in issues of racial equality. Hundreds of new programs were introduced to address the needs of high-risk minority and low-income students. In the years since, university policies have flip-flopped between calls to address minority needs and arguments to maintain Standard English. Today, anti-affirmative action and anti-access sentiments have put many of these programs in danger. Interests and Opportunities chronicles debates over writing programs for high-risk students on the national level and, locally, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using the critical race theorist Derrick Bells concept of interest convergence, Steve Lamos shows that these programs were promoted or derailed according to how and when they fit the interests of underrepresented minorities and mainstream whites (administrators and academics). To Lamos, understanding the past dynamics of convergence and divergence is key to formulating new strategies of local action and story-changing that can preserve and expand race consciousness and high-risk writing instruction, even in adverse political climates.