White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms
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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