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Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness

Views from the Past and Present

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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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20. A Hidden Door Outside the Law: Mapping Whiteness and Symbolic Alibis for Crimes Against First Nations People (John L. Hoben)

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Chapter 20

A Hidden Door Outside the Law

Mapping Whiteness and Symbolic Alibis for Crimes Against First Nations People

John L. Hoben

A Cultural Whodunnit: Whiteness and Educating for Social Justice

I am a part of whiteness. As a democratic educator concerned with social justice and racial education this is a problematic positioning (Allen, 2004) but one which offers the promise of allowing my White students to begin to understand their own complicity with white violence and historical aggression. It also triggers the realization that teachers committed to democratic education need to come to terms with the whiteness of the law (Aylward, 1999; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Gotanda, Pellar, & Thomas, 1995; Lopez, 2006; Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993). This chapter is about the importance of exposing this tactic as a central stratagem of white power encoded in western legal culture.

The specific case of genocide, in particular, provides educators with the necessary means by which we can unravel the thorny relationship between historical trauma and justice through a consideration of the meaning of the rule of law and the habitual refusal of whites to recognize the legitimacy of First Nations’ legal institutions (Alcantara & Whitfield, 2010, p. 122). Genocide is an apt object lesson in one of the most fundamental obstacles faced by many aboriginals in their fight for justice: namely that Aboriginal struggle for recognition is often undertaken through the very educational and legal institutions...

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