Epistemic injustice? Banning ‘critical race theory’, ‘divisive topics’, and ‘embedded racism’ in the classroom

Journal of Philosophy of Education 57 (4-5):862-879 (2024)
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In more than half of its states, the USA has recently passed or proposed legislation to limit or ban public educational curricular reference to race, gender, sexuality, or other identity topics. The stated justifications for these legislative moves are myriad, but they share a foundational claim; namely, these topics are asserted to be politically and socially divisive such that they ought not to be included within state-controlled schools. In this paper, we consider the claims of divisiveness regarding these topics and explore whether, even if taken in good faith, the popular versions of these arguments and actions are epistemically defensible. We conclude that these bans are an epistemic injustice and therefore argue for their end. The article proceeds to consider the foundational claims of epistemic injustice, followed by the invocation of epistemic standards by which the arguments for these bans can be evaluated. The article then transitions to a close application of these standards, weighing the possible epistemic gains and losses. Before concluding, we consider objections and explore the social and epistemic significance of these issues.



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Henry Lara-Steidel
Ohio State University

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References found in this work

White Ignorance.Charles Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11-38.
Risk aversion and elite‐group ignorance.David Kinney & Liam Kofi Bright - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (1):35-57.
Two Concepts of Epistemic Injustice.David Coady - 2010 - Episteme 7 (2):101-113.
Two Concepts of Epistemic Injustice.David Coady - 2010 - Episteme 7 (2):101-113.

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