Critical Conversations: Race, Education, and Inequality

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

Racial inequality in education is an entrenched and enduring issue in American society. Despite this, many continue to suggest that education is the great equalizer and a sure pathway to opportunity. This roundtable discussion series invites Brown faculty to reflect on some of the current conditions in the US school system. Watch the recap and learn more about the speakers below.







Mahasan Chaney is an Assistant Professor of Education. Her research and teaching focus on education policy, and the history of education and center on three related policy areas: the racial politics of education, the politics of school punishment, and the ideologies and discourses of education reform. Chaney received her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 and was later a posdoctoral researcher with the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (CSREA) and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

John Diamond is Professor of Sociology and Education Policy in Brown’s Department of Sociology and Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Before coming to Brown, he was the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education and Professor of Education at Wisconsin – Madison. A sociologist of race and education, he studies the relationship between social inequality and educational opportunity, examining how educational leadership, policies, and practices operate through school organizations to shape students’ educational opportunities and outcomes.

David Enrique Rangel is an Assistant Professor of Education at Brown University. As a sociologist of education, he studies the relationship between education and social inequality, with emphasis on the Latinx experience in the U.S. In particular, his research examines family-school relations, focusing on how social class, race, ethnicity, and the broader social context structure relations within families, between families, and between families and schools. His work documents Latinx parents’ experiences in school settings to understand if, how, and to what extent Latinx parents pass on educational advantages to their children. His most recent work has appeared in various outlets, including the American Educational Research Journal, Sociological Perspectives, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, and Social Science and Medicine – Population Health.

Noliwe Rooks is Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies/Rites and Reason Theatre. Her work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history and political life in the United States. The author of four books and numerous articles, essays and op ed’s, Rooks has received research funding from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation among others. She lectures frequently at colleges and universities around the country and is a regular contributor to popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Time Magazine and NPR. Rooks’ most recent book, in which she coined the term “segrenomics,” is Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education which won an award for non-fiction from the Hurston/Wright Foundation.