Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Christopher B. Knaus


This thesis examines the racial disparities that continue to plague students of color in both South Africa and the United States, as well as globally, using Critical Race Theory as the theoretical framework. Despite the overthrow of Apartheid, myriad forms of racial oppression continue to take place in South Africa. While education is framed as a way to break the cycle of poverty and oppression, schools remain embedded within previous systems of racial oppression. This racial apartheid is seen through state-enforced unequal resource distribution and school funding disparities that mirror and extend the conditions of poverty in Black townships, as well as a white-framed curriculum and white-dominated language of instruction. These racialized educational disparities are not exclusive to South Africa, but, indeed, are globalized; even in the relatively wealthy United States, racial disparities in schools remain rampant. Despite these oppressive conditions within schools and across school systems, teachers empower students and create warm and welcoming spaces. Regardless of insufficient resources and inadequate curriculum, many teachers in South African and U.S. schools manage to engage students. In this study, teacher voice is examined as central to understanding educational inequities and offer teacher-informed solutions to larger societal inequities. This research ultimately demonstrates how teachers intentionally resist school infrastructures that reinforce racial oppression.

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