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Whiteness in higher education: The invisible missing link in diversity and racial analyses

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... . In an effort to understand and contextualize Black students' experiences at PWIs, scholars have called for more research that examines the relationship between the sociocultural context at PWIs and Black students' outcomes Cabrera et al., 2017). Integrating information about the context of PWIs using sociocultural factors provides both postsecondary researchers and practitioners with information that can be used to maximize the benefits Black students receive from their increased presence in institutions of higher learning. ...
... Postsecondary scholars recognize that the institutional and cultural context of PWIs matters for Black students' outcomes (Cabrera et al., 2017;Gloria & Castellanos, 2003). Decades of campus climate research have documented that Black students at PWIs consistently report more negative perceptions of the university environment and endorse higher rates of racial marginalization, harassment, and discrimination compared with their White peers (Griffith et al., 2019;Harper & Hurtado, 2007;Pieterse et al., 2010). ...
... Furthermore, given the racialized context of PWIs (Cabrera et al., 2017), Black students' racial identity constitutes another important cultural variable within this setting. Racial identity has been defined as one's sense of sharing common heritage with a particular racial group and one's psychological connectedness to this reference group (Cokley & Vandiver, 2012). ...
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Using the psychosociocultural framework, this study concurrently examined the influence of psychological (academic self-concept and academic engagement attitudes), social (caring student-faculty relationships), and cultural variables (racial centrality and perceived university environment) on the academic achievement of Black college students. Participants were 247 Black collegians recruited from a large, Southwestern predominately White institution. Results of structural equation modeling largely supported hypothesized relationships between variables, accounting for 16% of the variance in grade point average (GPA), 75% of the variance in academic engagement, and 29% of the variance in academic self-concept. Results revealed two positive direct paths to GPA: (a) racial centrality and (b) academic self-concept; academic self-concept had a key role in facilitating indirect effects on academic engagement and GPA. Findings highlight multiple noncognitive predictors that can facilitate Black students’ academic functioning. Research and practice implications of these findings are outlined.
... Furthermore, many students at these types of institutions (i.e., public, comprehensive, regional) come from historically-marginalized communities with limited college-related resources. The data on HSU's student demographics points to a larger trend in higher education: a diverse population is enrolling into colleges historically designed for White, middle-upper-class, high school students who enroll as full-time students (Cabrera, Franklin, & Watson, 2017;Higher Learning Advocates, 2019). As shown with this study, some professors do recognize they are students' primary source of disciplinary knowledge and the college experience (Schreiner, Noel, & Cantwell, 2011). ...
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This multi-case study centers on how Criminology/Criminal Justice (CCJ) professors enact and refine a teaching approach that helps students understand how practices from their field of study can reinforce systemic discrimination and its harmful consequences. These are practices that have disproportionately threatened the physical, emotional, and/or economic conditions of communities with limited socio-political power. This research is important because college instructors play an influential role in preparing and enhancing the country’s workforce. Thus, if college instructors do not prepare students as critically-minded professionals, then students may reproduce practices that can lead to detrimental social, political, and economic outcomes for the country as a whole. Given the importance of critical teaching in higher education, I specifically examined professors’ beliefs, perceptions, and actions related to how they enacted and refined their critical teaching approach. I collected data from interviews, class observations, course materials, and student focus groups and interviews. With a conceptual framework grounded in faculty agency and critical teaching, I found professors in this study a) use the experiences of justice-involved people and practitioners to re-socialize students to have a “realistic” understanding of CCJ; b) have knowledge, dispositions, and resources that contribute to their experimental capacity with teaching; and c) increase student success when they enact instructional equity. This study suggests that college instructors can be catalysts to mitigating social inequities when they include subject-matter content on the people impacted by systemic discrimination, and instructional strategies that enable learning and persistence among students impacted the most by systemic discrimination.
... The lower rate of women achieving doctorates subsequently effects the proportion of women in university faculty and research jobs, which, in turn, effects the content and voice of the curriculum (Bagilhole and White 2011). It has been noted in parallel that the faculty in higher education programs also lean toward Whiteness (Cabrera, Franklin, and Watson 2017;Peters 2015). White patriarchy, then, enters into the pedagogy that scholars utilize when the content and assumptions of teaching and learning are reproductive of White male dominance (Connell 2005;Cornwall 2016). ...
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Peace in and through education has become an important educational development agenda. It has been included in human rights frameworks since 1948, and is emphasized in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, there are few studies examining how Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) scholars, and by extension the institutions they embody, translate this agenda into the classroom. This paper then critically examines how PACS scholars from one United Nations higher education peace institution understand, practice and experience the challenges and contradictions of teaching for peace in the 21st century. In the study, data were collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and document analysis with 25 PACS lecturers and 108 postgraduate students. Findings suggest that despite aspirations toward the liberal peace ideals of international understanding, equity and democratic peacebuilding as expressed by scholars and in peace studies literature, the practice of higher education peace pedagogy is instead imbued with ethnic, cultural, and gendered inequities. Some scholars articulated awareness of this while many others were more optimistic of the positive social change proclaimed through peace studies. Theoretical implications and two pedagogic strategies for peace are discussed.
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In the context of ongoing antagonism on college campuses, attacks on Critical Race Theory, and widespread backlash against racial justice initiatives, this paper underscores the growing need to recognize co-optation and other counterinsurgent strategies used against racial justice to make room for transformative scholarship. By presenting qualitative interviews from 15 white HBCU students, we illustrate how diversity research, advocacy, and organizing previously used to advocate for racial justice has instead constructed distorted understandings of race and racism and has been used to expand ideologies of whiteness. The findings show what CRT scholars have cautioned about for decades—when left uninterrupted, ahistorical approaches to racial diversity programming and research may lend to the co-optation of justice-focused diversity language and the appropriation of BIPOC strategies of resistance. This not only inhibits and detracts from racial justice work, but can function to expand white supremacy. We relate these narratives to an emerging racial backlash whereby white people attempt to distort understandings of structural racism to claim a “persecuted” status—a delusion that we argue warrants a new ideological frame. We posit this work lays the foundation for advancing equity in one of the most counterinsurgent eras in higher education (Matias & Newlove, 2017).
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While separate bodies of research have emerged regarding racial microaggressions in postsecondary settings and the relationship between race-related stressors and health outcomes for African Americans, there is a dearth of empirical investigations that test the effects of “general happiness,” “job satisfaction,” and race related stress based on the educational attainment of African Americans. This study examines the experiences of 3,320 African Americans who participated in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) conducted by the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan. Using a multigroup structural equation modeling approach, findings suggest that experience with more racial microaggressions tends to lead to less general happiness. Furthermore, greater racial microaggressions lead to less job satisfaction regardless of educational attainment. Findings demonstrate that racial microaggressions are entrenched in many parts of society that impact the health and education of African Americans. Authors provide suggestions for addressing racial microaggressions and disrupting whiteness.
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Background: International students report multiple challenges adjusting to educational settings. Instructional strategies such as Team Based Learning (TBL), could provide international students with opportunities that promote academic success, language skills and social connectedness. However, little is known about international students' experience of TBL. Methods: This paper reports on a qualitative study that explored the experiences of 15 international students enrolled in an Australian university nursing program, where TBL is used. Results: Findings indicate that TBL promotes language proficiency and respectful intercultural connections. It also uncovered an unintentional benefit of TBL in interrupting racism towards international students from domestic students. However, it is not enough to rely on TBL to mitigate the impact of racial and cultural power dynamics in educational settings. Conclusion: To improve international student experiences, educators must actively engage students in dialogue about privilege and structural racism as it relates to international students and other people of colour.
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The California Community College system is one of the most significant and vital engines for educational, economic, and personal growth opportunities in California, and particularly for Residents of Color and low income. While many faculty are actively working to create more equitable college cultures and classrooms, transformation will only happen with “the commitment of [our] institutions and the unwavering support of [our] administrations. It is extremely difficult and constant work, but that is what makes it so necessary” (Cabrera, Franklin, and Watson 94). Our colleges must “confront racism, power, and privilege at all levels of the institution” (89) if we want to become better teachers, colleagues, and allies capable of creating more equitable relationships, classrooms, and institutions.
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This study applies cultural historical activity theory to examine the experiences of 17 professors at a religiously affiliated private university who participated in a 10-month, inquiry-based intervention to change their culture around faculty hiring. The findings illustrate that professors who use race-conscious language and tools to interrogate their campus culture’s historical roots with racism rethought their hiring process. In doing so, faculty perceived racial equity work as an action-oriented, organizational effort to use equity-minded language and create a more equitable hiring structure. The study contributes to the literature on organizational change for racial equity by identifying faculty experiences with racism and critical knowledge about the organizational culture mediating faculty learning and agency.
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The purpose of this article was to examine how Whiteness functions to underwrite and maintain racially hostile campus climates. Utilizing narrative inquiry, results illuminate two rhetorical devices that White students utilized to rationalize and justify the racial status quo: Narratives of Campus Racial Harmony and Narratives of Imposition. Results highlight how well-intentioned, educated White students contribute to the maintenance and reproduction of Whiteness. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19496591.2019.1576530
Chapter
What do teachers learn ‘on the job’? And how, if at all, do they learn from ‘experience’? Leading researchers from the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada offer international, research-based perspectives on a central problem in policy-making and professional practice – the role that experience plays in learning to teach in schools. Experience is often weakly conceptualized in both policy and research, sometimes simply used as a proxy for ‘time’, in weeks and years, spent in a school classroom. The conceptualization of experience in a range of educational research traditions lies at the heart of this book, exemplified in a variety of empirical and theoretical studies. Distinctive perspectives to inform these studies include sociocultural psychology, the philosophy of education, school effectiveness, the sociology of education, critical pedagogy, activism and action research. However, no one theoretical perspective can claim privileged insight into what and how teachers learn from experience; rather, this is a matter for a truly educational investigation, one that is both close to practice and seeks to develop theory. At a time when policy-makers in many countries seek to make teacher education an entirely school-based activity, Learning Teaching from Experience offers an essential examination of the evidence-base, the traditions of inquiry – and the limits of those inquiries.
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After four centuries of bondage, the nineteenth century marked the long-awaited release of millions of black slaves. Subsequently, these former slaves attempted to reconstruct the basis of American democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, one of the greatest intellectual leaders in United States history, evaluates the twenty years of fateful history that followed the Civil War, with special reference to the efforts and experiences of African Americans. Du Bois's words best indicate the broader parameters of his work:"the attitude of any person toward this book will be distinctly influenced by his theories of the Negro race. If he believes that the Negro in America and in general is an average and ordinary human being, who under given environment develops like other human beings, then he will read this story and judge it by the facts adduced." The plight of the white working class throughout the world is directly traceable to American slavery, on which modern commerce and industry was founded, Du Bois argues. Moreover, the resulting color caste was adopted, forwarded, and approved by white labor, and resulted in the subordination of colored labor throughout the world. As a result, the majority of the world's laborers became part of a system of industry that destroyed democracy and led to World War I and the Great Depression. This book tells that story.
Book
Revealing Whiteness explores how white privilege operates as an unseen, invisible, and unquestioned norm in society today. In this book, which combines elements of personal narrative with theoretical foundations, Shannon Sullivan interrogates her own whiteness and how being white has affected her. By looking closely at the subtleties of white domination, she issues a call for other white people to own up to their unspoken privilege and confront environments that condone or perpetuate it. She examines the importance of unconscious habit in maintaining whiteness' control over social conditions. She calls into question and attempts to theorize changing these habits as a way forward. Sullivan’s theorizing about race and privilege draws on American pragmatism, psychology, race theory, and feminist thought. It articulates a way to live beyond the barriers that white privilege has created.
Book
The book establishes a "second wave" of work on whiteness, tracing the transformation of the concepts from the invisible, transparent norm that absolved white people of individual responsibility for racism to a target of criticism from many different sides. The collection of essays is organized into setions on white politics, white culture, white bodies, and white theories and examines whiteness in phenomena as disparate as film, literature, militias, music, and even Rush Limbaugh.
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Updated version of her famous essay "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack."
Book
A broad survey of the emerging of whiteness studies literature, Critical White Studies presents work from sociology, law, history, cultural studies, and literature that focus on the role that white people play in contemporary society. Delgado and Stefancic expressly offer critical white studies as the next step in critical race theory. In focusing on whiteness, not only do they ask nonwhites to look more closely at what it means for others to be white; they invite whites to examine themselves more searchingly and to "look behind the mirror." The essays deal with how white people see themselves, how they see others, the history of whiteness, the role of the law, culture's role, white privilege specifically, differences in who can qualify as "white," the practice known as "passing," the role of biology and pseudoscience in race construction, and ways that white people can fight discrimination and challenge whiteness.
Book
Understanding White Privilege focuses squarely on white privilege and its implications by offering specific suggestions for what each person can do to bridge the racial divide. She goes through the process of what happens when white people realize the implications of the social forces that benefit them and attempts to outline steps to help white people respond to racial hierarchies in a productive manner. She seeks to build authentic relationships across race while giving white people the ability to take ownership of responsibility for racism and its negative effects. This will help white people talk about race without defaulting to defensiveness of guilt.