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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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12. Mathematics Teacher Education as a Racialized Experience: One Black Scholar’s Response to a White Teacher Educator’s Critical Consciousness Evolution and Social Justice Practice



Addressing issues related to race and racism are challenging, particularly in STEM disciplines, teacher education, and disciplines where STEM disciplines intersect with teacher education, such as mathematics teacher education. The failure to address these issues in STEM disciplines originates from deep-seated beliefs that STEM disciplines, particularly mathematics, are “culturally neutral” and thereby immune to bias. Consequently, issues of race are not central to many discussions in these disciplines, but that does not mean they are not relevant. Teacher education forwards a similar “culturally neutral” discourse when statements like “Good teaching is good teaching for ALL students” become a way to avoid a difficult conversation that addresses the impact of race, Whiteness, “otherness” and other related issues on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This unwillingness for many faculty, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers to “go there” and openly discuss these issues plays a major role in unknowingly perpetuating the racial hierarchies that exist in K–12 institutions (Ladson-Billings, 2006; Martin, 2006, 2010). Thus, because of the silencing around race, particularly around STEM and STEM disciplines, there is a place for White faculty in White institutions of higher education to examine how race and racism perpetuate the inequalities that exist in mathematics education. As a result, they will help challenge ← 211 | 212 → White prospective teachers to interrogate their own ideas about Whiteness and how it impacts their identity, and how they view their students and their work as mathematics educators and scholars.


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