The construction of whiteness by white anti-racism educators

2006 2006

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Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this study is to explore how white anti-racism educators understand and address whiteness in their teaching. This study describes how white anti-racism educators make sense of whiteness as a construct. This includes an exploration of how whiteness is defined, and an elaboration on the similarities and differences between these definitions. In addition, the study explores how white anti-racism educators address the concept of whiteness in their teaching and training.

This study follows a phenomenological approach to data collection and analysis with regard to the research question: from the perspective of a white anti-racism educator, what is whiteness and how does it inform my practice? Twelve white anti-racism educators who identify as either university faculty or organizational consultants were interviewed for this study.

Several themes emerged describing their interest in anti-racism education and how their journeys as anti-racist educations began with an early awareness that came from spiritual and religious values, family influences, relationships with people of color, and participation in anti-racism training. In describing the meaning of "whiteness," these anti-racism educators talked of whiteness as social construction, culture, power, and privilege. Finally, most of them shared feelings of ambivalence, hope, anxiety, and compassion that were derived from thinking about how whiteness has impacted their lives and how they felt they should teach about it.

Important considerations based on this research include the role they play in raising the racial consciousness of other whites, the role of trust in their journey toward being an anti-racism educator, and how high-trust relationships have influenced how they view their work. And finally, they follow a set of principles or guidelines that help them situate whiteness within the context of their anti-racism educational practice. This study concludes with research limitations, as well as future research and practice implications.

Indexing (details)

Bilingual education;
Multicultural education;
Minority & ethnic groups;
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Antiracism; High-trust relationships; Racism; Whiteness
The construction of whiteness by white anti-racism educators
Burchell, Michael J.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Griffin, Pat
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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