Checkpoints: TSA as a Microcosm of Our “Post-racial” Society and the Need for Social Justice Education

  • Rajni Shankar-Brown Stetson University
Keywords: Social justice, Equity, Critical Race Theory, Classism, Sexism, Ableism, Religionism, Institutional oppression, Systemic change, Privilege


This reflective scholarly essay explores privilege and institutional oppression as complex and multifaceted systems that merit the immediate attention of educators. Employing the Critical Race Theory (CRT) method of counterstorytelling, personal narrative in the form of autobiographical reflection describes the social-emotional impact and immobilization from encountering recurrent injustice, discrimination, and racism in the United States. Airports are viewed as a microcosm of structural isms in society, including but not limited to racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and religionism. Collective social action and transformative education, focused on increasing understanding and dismantling power and privilege, are encouraged. With significant social disparities and inequities, the author asserts that there is a deep need for critical, humanistic, and social justice education. 

Author Biography

Rajni Shankar-Brown, Stetson University

Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, Director of Education Graduate Programs, Co-Coordinator of the Master’s in Educating for Social Justice Program, member of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform, President of American Association of University Professors – Stetson Faculty United, and the Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University. Additionally, she is the Founder and Executive Director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference (PHC) and the Co-PI for the Volusia Center for Excellence in Education. As the Faculty Advisor of Stetson’s Student Homeless Coalition and American Civil Liberties Union, she actively promotes social responsibility, global citizenship, and community engagement on campus and in the larger community.


Dr. Shankar-Brown is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of poverty and homelessness, diversity and inclusion, and social justice education. She is a regularly sought after expert on Capitol Hill and by international/national organizations working towards improving education for socially marginalized students, and the elimination of poverty and homelessness. Dr. Shankar-Brown is widely published, including in top tier education journals. She has presented and facilitated professional development workshops focused on reaching students in poverty around the globe.


She teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses at Stetson University. Her research focuses on social justice issues and transformative education, specifically curriculum and instructional practices dedicated to dismantling privilege and oppression. She is a member of several editorial and advisory boards, and she is actively involved with several professional organizations at international, national, state and local levels. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Volusia County Schools Homeless Education Steering Committee, West Volusia Habitat for Humanity, Steering Committee for the Educational Justice Conference. She was recently nominated to serve on the Board of The National Coalition for the Homeless and elected as the Chair of the Equity and Social Justice SIG for the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. She has received numerous awards for her innovative leadership and longstanding service.


Through her research, scholarship, and service, Dr. Shankar-Brown is deeply committed to closing the opportunity gap through education and civic engagement. In addition to being a passionate teacher-scholar, she is a dedicated mother, multi-media artist, and social activist. 


How to Cite
Shankar-Brown, R. (2017). Checkpoints: TSA as a Microcosm of Our “Post-racial” Society and the Need for Social Justice Education. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 6(2), 44-52. Retrieved from
Creative Works & Self-Reflections