Book Reviews

Book by Andrew Pilkington
Review By: Terrance A. Range
Program Coordinator, New Student Services
Universityof California, Berkeley

Andrew Pilkington’s, “Institutional Racism in the Academy: A case study” offers a contemporary narrative on the vitriolic discourse around race relations in Great Britain. Pilkington (2012) employs a case study technique to evaluate the academy’s response to racial discourse in higher education. As a current Faculty associate, Pilkington provides insight into the policy-driven response of the Midshire community. Pilkington contextualizes his argument at the center of a disturbing hate-crime that occurred in London in 1993, involving “a group of White youth and Stephen Lawrence, a young African American male” (p. 5). Prior to the 1993 incident, Pilkington argues that widespread efforts to acknowledge race-inferiority were scant and seldom researched. The “Stephen Lawrence Case,” according to Pilkington, served as the impetus for change and dialogue. However, Pilkington further demonstrates that although considerable inroads have been made regarding the levels of intentionality concerning race, the Midshire community and Great Britain at large still have much work to be done, in order to address the systemic racial history that spawned out of the death of Stephen Lawrence.

The book’s overall thesis gives advisors a preliminary overview of race in the context of Great Britain, not only in the Academy, but also from a policy perspective that challenges the surface level intervention tactics employed by the British government. In an effort to augment his claims espoused in the text, Pilkington examines the time period between1993-2003, the Midshire police, and the local Midshire University. The author asserts that examining both institutions helps forge an emerging dialogue that marries both civil structure and the academy at the crux of racism. For readers who are marginally adept at racism scholarship, Pilkington provides a robust introduction in racism and defines the term/phenomena thoroughly in the first 2 chapters of the book.

Notwithstanding his comprehensive effort in providing context for racism early in the text, he fails to elaborate on the differences in racism, internationally, and domestically within the Midshire context. Furthermore, Pilkington outlines how the racial policies espoused immediately after Stephen’s killing were not immediately embraced by special interests groups. In order to support his argument he categorically scores the interacting dynamics of institutional racism and how pervasive the covert violent practices are. However, Pilkington is limited in his ability to investigate the racist practices outside of the purview of the Stephen’s case, albeit the book is less than 200 pages. In that same vein, Pilkington’s challenged to effectively analyze the policies and subsequent behavior of discriminatory racial epithets in communities where the support for racial egalitarianism is scant.

Institutional Racism in the Academy: A case study, does however, contain a few implicative resources for Higher Education administrators, teachers, students, community stakeholders, and the larger public. Pilkington provides an introductory understanding of how political relationships, born out of policy, effect race relations. In addition, the book offers readers a rhetorical roadmap of how to negotiate complex policies that are embedded in archaic tradition. Most importantly, the book gives voice to marginalized communities who suffer from oligarchic rule and un-democratic barriers. In order for the Higher Education community to move forward in its ability to engage in deep, innovative, and healthy conversations on race around world, they must de-construct the traditional norms that continually perpetuate hate for underrepresented groups. Given the long history of texts on race around the world, I would, arguably, rank this book on my top ten list as an 8, given its brief (less than 200 pages) overview of institutional racism.


Institutional Racism in The Academy: A Case study(2011). Book by Andrew Pilkington. Review by Terrance Range. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.194 pp. $36.95, (paperback). ISBN # 978-1-85856-492-0

 

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