Published in: Race, Ethnicity and Education

Full Title: Ameritocracy and Infra-racial racism – Racializing Social and Cultural Reproduction Theory in the Twenty-first Century.


This article argues that narratives forecasting spectacular mobility for Black people/people of color along with the growth of the Black middle class function as proof that America ‘works’ and that the American dream is obtainable for all. However, what is concealed within this ‘meritocratic’ discourse is that full acceptance into this society is restricted on the basis of racial identity and other forms of social difference. I term the illusion of egalitarianism as ‘Ameritocracy’. By combining two separate words – American and Meritocracy – I use the idea of ‘Ameritocracy’ to demonstrate how race intersects with other forms of social oppression such as class, gender, religion, nationality, sexuality, phenotype, accent, immigration status, and special needs. Thus, informed by the intercentricity of racialized oppression, I use the concept of Ameritocracy to racialize social and cultural reproduction theory and illustrate how traditional claims of objectivity, meritocracy, colorblindness, and race neutrality often mask self-interest, power, and privilege of dominant groups in the United States’ opportunity structure and beyond.