White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms
Edited By Nicole M. Joseph, Chayla Haynes and Floyd Cobb
3. Getting Real: Surfacing and Challenging Persistent Oppressive Behaviors of School and District Leaders
KRISTINA A. HESBOL
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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