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Justice in Search of Leaders

A Handbook for Equity-Driven School Leadership


Gloria Graves Holmes

Justice in Search of Leaders: A Handbook for Equity-Driven School Leadership is a guide for educators who are committed to equity-driven teaching, leading, and policy-making, and would like to operationalize socially just school practices for all children. Moving beyond a heroes and holidays approach to addressing racism, bias, injustice, and a cluster of isms, it provides a deeper understanding of the causes of structural inequities in schools, and suggests approaches for deconstructing them. The book includes a frank discussion of race, racism, social dominance, and implicit bias, and encourages both objective and subjective analyses of how they infect school practice.

America’s ambivalent response to race, racial identity development, the nature of prejudice, and how humans form values and develop belief systems is explored in some depth. There is also a critique of Whiteness as a socio-political concept as it relates to power and privilege, and as a demographic reality as it relates to institutional discrimination in schools. The book is not a critique of white people, and it is important that readers make that distinction. This leads to a discussion of the tricky and challenging process of changing beliefs, values, and attitudes as they relate to school leadership and teaching, and how all of this is connected to the power dynamics in schools.

Justice in Search of Leaders: A Handbook for Equity-Driven School Leadership encourages educators to acknowledge that we all have racial identities and biases that inform professional practice, and to reflect on the significance of this. It means thinking deeply about socially abhorrent subjects which make us uncomfortable and cause us to retreat to the safety of our comfort zones. This is necessary because for most under-served students, there is no retreat and no safety; there are only discomfort zones.

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Chapter 6: Moving Forward: Biasing, (De)biasing, and Strategies for Change


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Biasing, (De)biasing, and Strategies for Change

This chapter is about the importance of acknowledging implicit and explicit bias, and learning strategies for (de)biasing. In addition to deconstructing the concepts of color blindness and color muteness, the chapter looks at other subtle forms of bias, including microaggression, and form of modern racism. The chapter will conclude with research-based strategies for change.

Keywords: implicit bias, explicit bias, color blindness, color muteness, microaggression, race, modern racism diversity, prejudice, discrimination, subtle racism, symbolic, ambivalent, modern, aversive, discipline disparities, racial socialization, dysconsciousness, Implicit Association Test

It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.

—Millard Fuller, The Theology of the Hammer

While driving down a flat, level road, have you ever noticed a sudden bump in the road that causes drivers to instinctively adjust their speed, and slow down, as they approach it because they know that going too fast over the bump could risk serious damage to the undercarriage of their cars, or even personal injury to the car’s occupants? Have you ever noticed that sometimes there is a permanent road sign preceding one of these potentially dangerous bumps that ← 149 | 150 → says something like, Caution, Bump Ahead, to warn you of the upcoming road hazard? Have you ever asked yourself why those who have the power...

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