"White" Washing American Education
The New Culture Wars in Ethnic Studies
by Denise M. Sandoval, Anthony J. Ratcliff, Tracy Lachica Buenavista, and James R. Marín, Editors
October 2016, 614pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3255-0
$151, £117, 132€, A207
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3256-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Examples of whitewashing U.S. education include revising the treatment of topics such as slavery and Japanese American internment.

Recent attacks on Ethnic Studies, revisionist actions in curriculum content, and anti-immigrant policies are creating a new culture war in America. This important work lays out the current debates—both in K–12 and higher education—to uncover the dangers and to offer solutions.

In 2010, HB 2281—a law that bans ethnic studies in Arizona—was passed; in the same year, Texas whitewashed curriculum and textbook changes at the K–12 level. Since then, the nation has seen a rise in the legal and political war on Ethnic Studies, revisionist actions in curriculum content, and anti-immigrant policies, creating a new culture war in America. “White” Washing American Education demonstrates the value and necessity of Ethnic Studies in the 21st century by sharing the voices of those in the trenches—educators, students, community activists, and cultural workers—who are effectively using multidisciplinary approaches to education.

This two-volume set of contributed essays provides readers with a historical context to the current struggles and attacks on Ethnic Studies by examining the various cultural and political “wars” that are making an impact on American educational systems, and how students, faculty, and communities are impacted as a result. It investigates specific cases of educational whitewashing and challenges to that whitewashing, such as Tom Horne’s attack along with the State Board of Education against the Mexican American studies in the Tucson School District, the experiences of professors of color teaching Ethnic Studies in primarily white universities across the United States, and the role that student activists play in the movements for Ethnic Studies in their high schools, universities, and communities. Readers will come away with an understanding of the history of Ethnic Studies in the United States, the challenges and barriers that Ethnic Studies scholars and practitioners currently face, and the ways to advocate for the development of Ethnic Studies within formal and community-based spaces.


  • Presents an innovative exploration of the new culture wars that address the various debates and views on Ethnic Studies that are under attack in American education, both in grades K–12 and in higher education
  • Provides information and insights presented by outstanding editors and contributors who are influential in the field
  • Includes case studies of Ethnic Studies at risk in higher education as well as personal narratives regarding the challenges and struggles of Ethnic Studies scholars and practitioners
  • Suggests solutions for strengthening diverse curricula in K–12 classrooms and in higher education classrooms
Denise M. Sandoval, PhD, is professor of Chicana/o studies at California State University, Northridge.

Anthony J. Ratcliff, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

Tracy Lachica Buenavista, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Asian American Studies and a core faculty member in the doctoral program in educational leadership at California State University, Northridge.

James R. Marín, EdD, is a principal at Alain LeRoy Locke College Prep Academy, Green Dot Public Schools, Los Angeles.


Best Reference Titles of 2016, Social Science—Library Journal, March 2, 2017


"The writing is provocative, stimulating, and meant to challenge and to correct stereotypes and misconceptions. . . . An important work for undergraduates and readers with serious interest in the topic."—Library Journal, December 1, 2016
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