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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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3. Getting Real: Surfacing and Challenging Persistent Oppressive Behaviors of School and District Leaders



Getting Real

The journey of my own racial consciousness has been a process taking more than six decades, and it continues daily. This inquiry continues to be heuristic, with multiple intersecting lines examining my cultural foundations, my formal and informal learning processes, and how they influence my teaching. My hope is that as I share my own personal narratives, our collective voices tell a larger story, offering complementary ways to experience the world.

I identify as a White female who is deeply committed to leading transformative educational change. I am a first-generation college student, born into a White working-class family with what may be called “traditional” values. I understand fully that as a White person, I had been taught by example about racism as something that disadvantages others. I had been taught to overlook one of its consequences, White privilege, which affords me an advantage over others who are non-White. Until I was 18 years old, I had never experienced personal contact with anyone who was not White. “White” is a racialized identity, continuously reinforced by the media. In retrospect, it now seems apparent that Whites are taught not to recognize (or to unpack) White privilege. I understand fully that race is a constantly changing sociohistorical concept, not a biological fact (Adelman, 2003). Whiteness has historically served as a proxy for a nonracialized identity interpreted by a dominant majority as “the norm”—invisible yet superior. ← 43 | 44 →

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