White Settler Identity

Learning about theories of Whiteness and anti-oppressive education is challenging but rewarding work, as it entirely alters one’s perspective of one’s self, one’s students, and the classroom. This gathering aims to bring about a self-awareness, through the exploration of these theories, that will set the groundwork for “Anti-oppressive Practice,” and will begin to prepare participants for an open-mindedness in their personal and professional lives.

To view any of the resources listed below, click on the highlighted title.

Websites:

The following articles and website support the activities of the Whiteness and Privilege gathering.

Articles:

  • Ghosh, R. (2008). Racism: A Hidden Curriculum, Education Canada, 48(4), 26-29.

    This article addresses the myth that Canada is a nation free of racial prejudice, and discusses Canada’s long history of hate-motivated violence towards racial or ethnic minorities. Ghosh examines a number of different and related concepts of racism and shows how the implications of these constructs reveal themselves in educational settings through the hidden curriculum and act to maintain a discriminatory learning environment. As well, the author explores the role of education in combatting racism.

  • Hall, S. (2001). Foucault: Power knowledge and discourse in M. Wetherell, S. Taylor & S.J. Yates (Eds), Discourse theory and practice: A reader (pp72-80). London: Thousand Oaks.     

    Hall introduces and outlines the discursive approach to language and representation of French philosopher, Michel Foucault. The approach follows three major themes: the concept of ‘discourse’, power and knowledge, and the question of subject. Focault studied not language, but discourse, as a system of representation and argued that ‘nothing has any meaning outside of discourse’ (p. 73). Hall examines discourse in this usage as it relates to language and practice and attempts to overcome the traditional distinction between what one says (language) and what one does (practice). He draws on Foucault’s concern with how knowledge was put to work through discursive practices in specific institutional settings to regulate the conduct of others, creating a relationship between knowledge and power. 

  • King, J. (1991). Dysconscious Racism: ideology, identity, and the miseducation of teachers. The Journal of Negro Education, 60(2). 133-146  

    An article that presents a qualitative analysis of dysconscious racism as reflected in the responses of the author’s teacher education students to an open-ended question to assess student knowledge and understanding of student inequity. The question asked “Compared to White children, Black children are twice as likely to die in the first year of life… How did our society get to be this way?” An analysis of short essay responses reveals students’ thinking often reflect internalized ideologies that both justify the racial status quo and devalue cultural diversity. The author then describes a teaching approach to counteract the cognitively limited and distorted thinking that dysconscious racism represents. 

  • Larocque, E. (1991). Racism runs thorugh Canadian Society. In O. McKaque (Ed.), Racism in Canada (pp. 73-76). Saskatoon: Fifth House.

    In this essay, Larocque contends that racism against Native peoples in Canada is rampant and that every day, Natives encounter some form of personal prejudice or institutional violence, whether it is covert or overt.  Larocque precisely defines racism and explains how it is practiced and perpetuated in society and institutions both historically and in present times. 

  • Menzies, C. (2006). The challenge of First Nations History in a colonial world.  Canadian Issues, (Fall)44-46.

    The author, a university-based Indigenous scholar, postulates that teaching First Nations subjects to non-Indigenous students and with non-Indigenous colleagues is necessarily an act of anti-racist pedagogy. Menzies maintains that the process of learning and teaching needs to involve real change, challenge, discomfort, and ultimately transformative experiences. Teaching First Nations history and anthropology requires starting from the position of an anti-racist, anti-colonial pedagogy that aims to disrupt dominant colonial narratives and practices.

The author begins the article by addressing himself as a token black presence in a white world. He goes on to discuss, and reconsider, the doctrine of discriminatory purpose that was established by the 1976 decision, Washington v. Davis. This well-established doctrine requires plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a facially neutral law to prove a racially discriminatory purpose on the part of those responsible for the law’s enactment or administration. Parker posits that the doctrine is damaging to the cause of equal opportunity, an argument also set forth by critics, and suggests another way that more accurately describes both its origins and the nature of the injury it inflicts. He considers the role that unconscious plays in people’s overtly racist attitudes (the dominative racist) and those whose prejudice is less apparent (the aversive racist). The overall article discusses a proposal to modify the intent requirement. Parker argues that judicial exploration of the cultural meaning of governmental actions with racially discriminatory impact is the best way to discover the unconscious racism of governmental actors. 

Books:

A compilation of essays that examine stereotypes ranging in currency from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, with a primary focus on the turn of the century. This book is a survey of the western European tradition that deals with texts from various sources, including science, popular literature, the fine arts, and medical illustration. The author illustrates that the most powerful stereotypes were those that associated images of race, sexuality, and the all-pervasive idea of pathology. The author attempts to trace the historical evolution of these stereotypes. 

  • Lerner, G. (1997). Why history matters: Life and thought. New York: Oxford University.

In this collection of essays, feminist scholar, Greda Lerner traces the expansion of her consciousness from her life and experiences as a Jewish woman refugee to her 35 years of work as a scholar concerned with race, class and gender. 

  • Singleton, G. & Linton, C. (2006). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. California: Corwin Press.

    In this book, the authors examine the achievement gap between different racial gaps through the prism of race and reflect on three essential characteristics of anti-racist leadership: passion, practice, and persistence. They emphasize the need for candid, courageous conversations about race and indicate how these can happen so that educators may understand why performance inequity persists, and learn how they can develop a curriculum that promotes true academic parity. The authors assert that educators need to establish both language and a process for addressing the intersection of race and achievement to be able to restructure schools in ways that improve student performance.