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Interrogating Whiteness and Relinquishing Power

White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms


Edited By Nicole M. Joseph, Chayla Haynes and Floyd Cobb

Interrogating Whiteness and Relinquishing Power: White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms is a collection of narratives that will transform the teaching of any faculty member who teaches in the STEM system. The book links issues of inclusion to teacher excellence at all grade levels by illuminating the critical influence that racial consciousness has on the behaviors of White faculty in the classroom. It functions as an analytical tool, scaffolding exemplary examples to inspire readers to engage in the complex and difficult work of assessing their own racial consciousness and teacher effectiveness. White pre-service teachers in STEM education rarely see the importance of the link between race and the teaching and learning of mathematics, in part because the White faculty who are teaching these subjects rarely engage in the study of racial projects in STEM. From this perspective, the authors of this book contend that the classroom is a racialized environment that, if not addressed, can reproduce racial structures and hierarchies in cyclical ways.
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2. When Nothing’s Lost: The Impact of Racial Segregation on White Teachers and Students



“All the White racists in the room, raise your hand!”

I grew up in poverty, in a family in which no one was expected to go to college. Thus I came late to academia, graduating with a BA in sociology at the age of 34. Unsure what I could do with my degree, I went to my college’s career center for help. After working with the career counselors for several weeks, I received a call. The counselor told me that a job announcement had just arrived for a “diversity trainer,” and she thought I would be a good fit. I did not know what a diversity trainer was, but the job description sounded very exciting: co-leading workshops for employees on accepting racial difference. I believed I qualified because I was “progressive and open-minded.” I was in for the most profound learning curve of my life.

The interview committee explained that the state’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS—the “welfare” department) had been sued for racial discrimination and had lost the suit. The federal government had determined that the department was out of compliance regarding serving all clients equally across race, and as part of the settlement had mandated that every employee in the state (more than 5,000 people) receive 16 hours (2 full workdays) of diversity training. DSHS hired a training company to design and deliver the trainings, and this company wrote the curriculum. Part of the...

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