For many college students, an introductory survey course may be their only exposure to a discipline — and in many courses, a textbook may serve as the guide. With that in mind, a committee of political scientists set out to see how how black people are portrayed in the introductory textbooks used in their discipline — and the results left them concerned.
The textbooks reviewed do feature discussion of black people and issues that affected them, but the most in-depth coverage is typically in a chapter on the civil rights movement, or sometimes civil liberties generally, found a study by the American Political Science Association’s Standing Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession. The study appears in the new issue of PS: Political Science & Politics.
The committee reviewed 27 textbooks used in intro courses, and published or in circulation (in many cases as updated editions of previously issued versions) from 2004 to 2007. Of those texts, 74 percent had a chapter on civil rights, 19 percent combine civil rights and civil liberties, and 7 percent had no specific chapter. For those books with a civil rights chapter, the average number of pages with references to black issues outside of that chapter is 13 — not a large number on books that averaged 569 pages...MORE
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