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Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness

Views from the Past and Present


Edited By Virginia Lea, Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr

Whiteness is a narrative. It is the privileged dimension of the complex story of "race" that was, and continues to be, seminal in shaping the socio-economic structure and cultural climate of the United States and other Western nations. Without acknowledging this story, it is impossible to understand fully the current political and social contexts in which we live. Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness explores multiple analyses of whiteness, drawing on both past and current key sources to tell the story in a more comprehensive way. This book features both iconic essays that address the social construction of whiteness and critical resistance as well as excellent new critical perspectives.

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19. Whiteness and White Privilege: Problematizing Race and Racism in a “Color-blind” World, and in Education (Paul R. Carr)


Chapter 19

Whiteness and White Privilege*

Problematizing Race and Racism in a “Color-blind” World, and in Education

Paul R. Carr


Whiteness and White privilege are not terms that are easily identifiable, well known, or universally accepted and have been traditionally overlooked, notably by Whites, from local, national, and international discussions in the public, cultural, political, and educational realms (Watson, Howard-Wagner, & Spanierman, 2014). Ironically, Whiteness and White privilege have been contested by White settler societies, in particular, in countries that often propose to be “post-racial,” such as Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and European nations (Lund & Carr, 2015). Although many scholars—such as Applebaum (2011), Bush and Feagin (2011), Dei (2009), DuBois (1903/2007), Henry and Tator (2009), James (2009), McIntosh (1988), and Tochluk (2010)—have drawn attention to, and critically researched, Whiteness and White privilege, there remains a lack, albeit with an increasing amount, of critical educational discussion and action surrounding Whiteness in connection to racism in education especially in countries with significant White populations (Leonardo, 2009; Lund & Carr, 2015; Wise, 2011; Yancy & Davidson, 2014).

This article argues that White power and privilege remain significant concerns within educational, governmental, political, economic, and social structures, which capture different, overlapping, and fundamental concerns that shape contemporary societies globally (Watson, Howard-Wagner, & Spanierman, 2014). This focus can facilitate a more critical understanding, problematization and deconstruction of a range of social conditions, interactions, and lived realities and...

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