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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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8. Teacher Educators and Pre-Service Teachers Working Through the Complexities of Whiteness and Race in Mathematics and Science



With only a few weeks remaining of a two-year urban teacher education program that prided itself on explicitly naming, examining, and confronting racism and inequities, we asked our pre-service teachers (PSTs), during a student teaching seminar, to share their thoughts on the discussion prompts below. As White faculty teaching in a predominantly White teacher education program, we were fairly confident that we had developed racial awareness in our PSTs over the course of the program. What we found was a reality check.

Discuss how issues of racism and Whiteness have been integrated into the program.1

1. Do you think issues of race and Whiteness have been represented in the program (both coursework and field experience)? Be specific.

2. How do you see issues of race and Whiteness in the micro-interaction of your classroom?

One PST responded with the following:

I definitely think that you need to respect different races, but that doesn’t mean that you … that that’s constantly on your mind. I feel like if you are constantly thinking like, “Cameron, you’re Black, so you’re different,” then that is what is going to cause an issue—not fix it.

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