1st Edition

The Legacy of Charles W. Mills and The Racial Contract in Educational Justice His Work Lives On

Edited By Cheryl E. Matias Copyright 2025
    158 Pages
    by Routledge

     Race is everywhere and pretending not to see it only does more damage than good. This book delves into the work of Charles Mills and how his underlying philosophies of race still play out in today’s economic, educational, political and sociological arena.

    Charles Mills left a legacy of philosophical racial analyses needed to better understand race, racism, whiteness, and white supremacy worldwide. From the Racial Contract to global issues of colonial whiteness and epistemological racial ignorance, Mills’ theories still resonate in the research that race scholars conduct today. Needless to say, despite his passing, Charles’ work lives on. To honour Mills’ scholarship, this book draws on interdisciplinary studies (e.g., sociology, political science, Black studies, and education) to excavate the racial landscape of the U.S. post Trump, Anti-CRT bans, #BLM, and global racial reckonings. Within this volume prominent scholars of race worldwide and, from a variety of disciplines, discuss Mills’ theories as applied to contemporary discourses of race, whilst also offering very personal vignettes that best illuminate who Charles was to us all. Essentially, the man behind the theories. Filled with both deep theoretical analyses and personal stories of Charles, this book will liven the spirits, hearts, and hope for racial justice and those who work endlessly towards it.

    This book is a key resource for scholars, researchers and practitioners in the fields of education, sociology, political science, racial and ethnic studies, development studies and philosophy. It was originally published as a special issue of the journal Race Ethnicity and Education.

    Introduction – Dancing with Charles: A man, scholar, legacy

    Cheryl E. Matias

    I. The Racial Contract: Then and Now

    1. We will greet our enemy with rifles and roses: Charles Mills and the perpetual impact of the

    Racial Contract

    David Stovall

    II. The Racial Contract Applied to Educational Justice

    2. The Racial Contract and white saviorism: centering racism’s role in undermining housing and

    education equity

    Ann M. Aviles

    3. White racial ignorance and refusing culpability: how the emotionalities of whiteness ignore

    race in teacher education

    Michalinos Zembylas and Cheryl E. Matias

    4. Expectations as property of white supremacy: the coloniality of ascriptive expectations within

    the racial contract

    Daniel D. Liou

    5. Naming the unnamed: a Millsian analysis of the American educational contract

    Wyatt Driskell

    III. The Racial Contract Applied to Educationally Just Methods

    6. Too much talking, not enough listening: the racial contract made manifest in a mixed-race

    focus group interview

    Bryant O. Best and H. Richard Milner IV

    IV. The Racial Contract Beyond

    7. Rejecting the racial contract: Charles Mills and critical race theory

    George Lipsitz

    8. Charles Mills Ain’t Dead! Keeping the spirit of Mills’ work alive by understanding and

    challenging the unrepentant whiteness of the academy

    Amanda E. Lewis, Tyrone A. Forman and Margaret A. Hagerman


    Dr. Cheryl E. Matias is a full professor in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego who earned several awards, including the 2020 Mid-Career Award for her work on racial justice in teacher education at American Educational Research Association. She researches the emotionality of whiteness in teacher education and motherscholarship that supports women of color and motherscholars in the academy. She has several books: Feeling White, Surviving Becky(s), The Handbook on Critical Theoretical Reseach Methods in Education, and The Other Elephants in the (Class)room. She is a motherscholar of three, including boy-girl twins.