Reimagining Equality

A New Deal for Children of Color

256 pages

June, 2018

ISBN: 9781479893355



Add to Cart Available: 6/1/2018

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Nancy Dowd is Professor and David Levin Chair in Family Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.  She is the editor of the Families, Law and Society series at NYU Press, and author or editor of numerous books, including A New Juvenile Justice System (NYU 2015).

All books by Nancy E. Dowd

A comprehensive examination of developmental inequality among children 

Developmental equality–whether every child has an equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential–is essential for children’s future growth and access to opportunity. In the United States, however, children of color are disproportionately affected by poverty, poor educational outcomes, and structural discrimination, limiting their potential.  In Reimagining Equality, Nancy E. Dowd sets out to examine the roots of these inequalities by tracing the life course of black boys from birth to age 18 in an effort to create an affirmative system of rights and support for all children.

Drawing on interdisciplinary research, the book demonstrates that black boys encounter challenges and barriers that funnel them toward failure rather than developmental success.  Their example exposes a broader reality of hierarchies among children, linked to government policies, practices, structures, and institutions.  Dowd argues for a new legal model of developmental equality, grounded in the real challenges that children face on the basis of race, gender, and class.  

Concluding with a “New Deal” for all children, Reimagining Equality provides a comprehensive set of policies that enables our political and legal systems to dismantle what harms and discriminates children, and maximize their development. 


  • “Nancy Dowd has been an important scholar of law’s application to black boys for years. This book is a thorough critique of a broken social system where treatment of black boys is the miner’s canary. Dowd’s insightful analysis leads to an ambitious program that we can and should make a centerpiece of progressive politics. This book is a must read for anyone who cares about black boys, and also a must read for anyone who cares about children in general.”

    —Frank Rudy Cooper, co-editor, Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach

  • "Nancy Dowd has written an exceptionally important book about how deliberate considerations of race, gender, and class are necessary if we wish to achieve equality for all children. Focusing on black boys, and highlighting how black boys matter, Dowd uncovers how developmental inequality, or rather societal disregard for developmental inequality, continually reproduces injustice for black boys."

    —Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Chancellor's Professor of Law, Berkeley Law