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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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7. Interrogating Whiteness: The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Science Education



One White Woman’s Identity

I once heard a speaker say, “Every day that I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t just see a man. I see a Black man.” When I recall that statement, I realize what it means to be in the norm or the group in power. A White individual often does not think or consider one’s position in society and how people from different ethnicities and cultures experience the negative actions resulting from a White person’s assumptions or beliefs. Although there is some understanding from a woman’s perspective about male-versus-female stereotypes, assumptions, and expectations, it is difficult for a White person to truly comprehend what it is like to not be White.

As I wrote this chapter, I spent many sleepless hours contemplating the successes and mistakes I previously made as a White teacher who wrestled with her own development as someone who actively advocates for people of color in science education. I hope that by sharing my experiences, others may learn from some of the successes and also avoid the pitfalls that I fell into along the way.

Why be an advocate? This book is being written during the time of the Ferguson, Cleveland, and Los Angeles killings and protests. Young African American men are dying. Whereas one might think that is an extreme or unrelated issue, I feel that this horrible situation is another reason why I must be an advocate...

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