Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 37, No. 5, 253-266 (2008)
The scholarship of Kenneth B. and Mamie P. Clark, referenced in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, emphasized the nation’s color line, not only in the Jim Crow South but in American cities overall. The Clarks pointed out the critical role of context; however, they applied it narrowly to the issue of "harm" as an inevitable consequence of segregation.
The author of this article argues that the Clarks and their social science colleagues missed an opportunity to view Black youth as diverse human beings engaged in normal developmental tasks under difficult conditions. She denotes the role of context as key, especially when linked with human growth and psychological processes. Her findings from a sample of impoverished multiethnic youth reaffirm that America is not colorblind and suggest that these youths’ political beliefs and concerns about government vary by ethnicity, gender, family structure, and skin color preferences.