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Whiteness in Higher Education: The Invisible Missing Link in Diversity and Racial Analyses: Whiteness in Higher Education

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... In short, racism is not about random acts by lone individuals, it is built into ostensibly 'neutral' institutions and social structures (Cabrera et al., 2016), manifested in policies, procedures, belief systems and interpersonal interactions. White supremacy and systemic racism are normative, the status quo of institutions and social arrangements in Canada. ...
... Declarations of moral outrage regarding racism are not enoughthey serve primarily to re-establish white innocence (Larocque et al., 2021). Statements of 'zero tolerance' for racism within institutions are meaningless, when the foundations of those institutions are mired in colonial racism (Cabrera et al., 2016). The need to move more racialized nurses into management and leadership positions is urgent, to begin disrupting pervasive institutional racism (Brathwaite, 2018;Iheduru-Anderson & Wahi, 2021), rather than relying on the next generation of nurses to bring about change. ...
Article
Background: Alongside declarations against racism, the nursing profession in Canada needs examination of experiences of racism within its ranks. Racism at multiple levels can create a context wherein racialized nurses experience barriers and ongoing marginalization. Purpose: This critical interpretive qualitative study asks how interpersonal, institutional, and structural racisms intersect in the professional experiences of racialized nurses in Canada, and how nurses respond. Methods: Self-identified racialized nurses (n = 13) from across Canada were recruited primarily through snowball sampling, and each was interviewed by phone or in person. Once transcribed, interviews were analyzed inductively, which led to the levels of racism as a guiding framework. Results: From entry to nursing education throughout their careers participants experienced racism from instructors, patients, colleagues and managers. Interpersonal racism included comments and actions from patients, but more significantly lack of support from colleagues and managers, and sometimes overt exclusion. Institutional racism included extra scrutiny, heavier workloads, and absence in leadership roles. Structural racism included prevalent assumptions of incompetence, which were countered through extra work, invisibility and hyper-visibility, and expectations of assimilation. Racialized nurses were left to choose among silence, resisting (often at personal cost), assimilation and/or bolstering their credibility through education or extra work. Building community was a key survival strategy. Conclusions: Everyone in nursing needs to challenge the culture of silence regarding racism. White nurses in particular need to welcome discomfort, listen and learn about racism, then speak out to help disrupt its normative status.
... White males) and structures supporting "Whiteness." This support for the majority white, male population in engineering (Eastman et al., 2019) has been labeled as "whiteness" (Cabrera et al., 2016). Similarly, Kirn et al. (2016) categorize white male engineering students comprising the "normative" ...
Thesis
Pursuing a STEM degree, especially engineering, is grimly portrayed in STEM culture as surviving through shared suffering and hardships (Godfrey & Parker, 2010; Wolffram et al., 2009) or as “chilly” (Morris & Daniel, 2008), especially for underrepresented students. If the purpose of education is to prepare students to be successful in school and beyond, then we must understand how students are successful. An alternative to negatively positioning students – what students are missing or need to survive – is to positively position students by studying how to support student success. Rather than identifying barriers to success, we can study the positive factors for student success. Therefore, this study reports how students experienced success and the factors they attributed to success. Broadly, this study sought to understand what constituted success, the factors students attributed to success, and how students from different groups experienced success. One overarching goal of this study was to describe student success as defined by engineering students. This study aimed to better understand how engineering students experience and view success both in the classroom and beyond. More precisely, this work investigated what students identified as successful, how the meaning of success changed over time, and the factors and characteristics students attributed to success and being successful. This work emphasized qualitative methods to richly capture the essence of success by understanding student experiences in depth. Thereby, this work mapped the multiple paths to student success by describing how chemical engineering student experiences of success varied across GPA, gender, and race. The research questions that guided the investigation of student success and how they experienced success differently were: 1. What are chemical engineering students’ experiences of success and being an engineer? a. How do chemical engineering students’ experiences differ by race and gender? 2. How do chemical engineering students position themselves as successful engineers? This work followed a phenomenographic approach that implemented a qualitative research design and multiple methods to answer the research questions. Participants were recruited from upper-level (3xxx- & 4xxx) chemical engineering courses level and given an incentive ($10 Amazon gift card) for participating in the survey and interview. The multiple methods used in this study were: an online survey (Qualtrics), and semi-structured interviews following an interview protocol. The Qualtrics survey collected the students’ consent, demographic information (race, gender, GPA, rank), and scores from two validated instruments: grit and engineering identity. Semi-structured interviews conducted over 1-3 hours captured the students’ experiences of success following a tailored interview protocol. Each student was virtually interviewed and recorded using Zoom. The recorded interview was transcribed and shared with the participant for member checking. The constant comparative method (CCM) was utilized to enrich the quality of data measurement and analysis; data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously. The member-checked transcript was analyzed in multiple ways following a phenomenographic approach. First the transcript was thematically analyzed and iteratively coded (pre-coded and indexed). After comparing the differences in student experiences by gender and race, the positioning diamond was applied. Students portrayed success as multi-faceted with a range of meanings. Collectively, the students’ understanding of success changed at least once during their collegiate studies. While initially positioning success as equating to getting good grades, students later identified other factors to success and (re)positioned success as obtaining their degree or being employed as an “engineer.” Additionally, students positioned success as accomplishing goals, feeling gratified, or fostering the success for others. Success was experienced and expressed in different ways across gender and race. The summation of actions that students attributed to success demonstrate how they self-identify and are recognized by members of the community as successful. For the field of engineering education to become more inclusive beyond the majority white male student, the experiences of underrepresented groups must be better understood. Hearing the stories of these students can inform policies and educators to better understand how students conceptualize success in academic settings.
... Accordingly, readers of these excerpts, notions of Citizenship and Democracy, most of whom are White women and reading from a hegemonic reading position (Chandler, 2002), would not challenge the ahistorical and acontextual semiotic codes, seeing it as normal. Said another way, supervision via sociocultural processes which are not explicit will default to the ideologies of whiteness and subsequent praxis (e.g., color/cultural blindness, race neutrality), a constant phenomenon observed within U.S. education (Cabrera et al., 2017;Leonardo & Manning, 2015;Lynch, 2018;Milner, 2020). ...
Article
Introduction This paper merges two neglected components within the psychological sciences broadly and research methods courses specifically: Critical whiteness and qualitative methodologies. Statement of the Problem In psychology programs, regardless of discipline, research courses remain one area where issues of race and racism, such as critical whiteness, are deemphasized. Similarly, methods courses rarely integrate qualitative inquiry and critical theory. Literature Review First, I briefly review the relevant literature on the state of qualitative research in psychology. I then discuss critical whiteness, contextualizing the idea of whiteness, before moving into a review of the current research on whiteness in psychology. Teaching Implications I present three experiential learning activities that further students’ skill development in qualitative methods while learning about three specific aspects of whiteness. Practicing observations, photovoice, and qualitative coding, students can reflect on the pervasiveness of white culture, colorblind racism, and racial microaggressions. Conclusion The activities described in this article provide instructors one avenue to engage various aspects of whiteness and qualitative methods, phenomena routinely overlooked in graduate training.
Chapter
The fear of race-mixing through sexual and romantic relationships has long plagued the psyche of the United States (Ferber, 2004; Frankenberg, 1993; Steinbugler, 2005), and has had serious consequences in terms of buttressing the racial order (Irby, 2014; Spencer, 2011). The college and graduate school years are times when individuals learn from a range of romantic and sexual relationships, and development along this interpersonal line is critical to growth and maturation (Patton et al., 2016). This chapter takes up a feminist poststructural perspective on the narratives of 20 multiracial and contested white postsecondary students at a predominantly white postsecondary institution, and delineates the construction of subjectivity for some cisgender men. Namely, some men are interpellated as the Unwanted, Colored Male through enactments of the discourses of essentialist anti-Black racism, normative whiteness, colorblindness, denial, and the binary discourse, sometimes separately and other times working together. It is important to flesh out how antiquated mental models around race continue to shape the experiences of current students at postsecondary institutions across the U.S. in order to better prepare for the higher education’s mixed race future. The chapter concludes with implications for research and practice.
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It is well established within the field of Critical Whiteness Studies that white privilege routinely materialises in Western universities. Yet, even though a third wave of Critical Whiteness Studies is increasingly focussing on whiteness in non-Western contexts, there has been insufficient attention toward whether white privilege also exists in East Asian universities. This article seeks to explore this issue by offering an autoethnography in which the author, a mixed-race academic who is racialised as white on some occasions and as a person of colour on others, critically interrogates whiteness in East Asian higher education. It is argued that those who are racialised as white are privileged in East Asian universities and may even seek to actively sustain this. In departing from the dominant understanding of whiteness as always-and-only privileging, this article also explores the extent to which white academics in East Asia may also be disadvantaged by their whiteness.
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Underrepresentation among U.S. citizen racial and ethnic minorities in geography has a long history, one perpetuated through—and readily measurable by—its doctoral degree–granting record. This article examines the history of efforts to redress underrepresentation since the 1960s, explores modern underrepresentation, measures the degree of its persistence in the discipline and within individual departments, and identifies drivers that exacerbate the racial and ethnic representation disparity among U.S. citizens in geography doctoral programs. To quantify the degree to which the discipline is underperforming demographically, we contrasted the rate of domestic underrepresented minority doctoral degree conferrals with those of White doctoral recipients in geography, the social sciences, and the entire academy over a twenty-three-year period from 1997 through 2019. During that span, geography consistently trailed the social sciences and the academy: This underrepresentation gap has widened in the past decade. Four drivers were identified: (1) lack of dedicated funding for underrepresented minority doctoral students, (2) minimal prior exposure to academic and professional geography, (3) passive recruitment strategies, and (4) pervasive Whiteness of departments. We conclude with a call to action for geographers to meet the moral imperative of racial and ethnic representational equity by becoming agents of measurable change.
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This paper engages the possibilities and paradoxes of antiracist pedagogy through an empirical analysis of white, queer postsecondary educators’ conceptualizations of and efforts toward antiracist teaching. Grounded in queer theory and Yoon’s articulation of whiteness-at-work, this research utilized narrative inquiry methodology to explore the (im)possibility of antiracist teaching for white educators. Findings point to the influence of queer subjectivity on participants’ ideas about and efforts toward antiracist pedagogical practice. Analysis of participants’ narratives illustrates multiple sites of tension and two forms of paradox (inward and outward) in their antiracist teaching efforts. Rather than offering so-called best practices of antiracist teaching, this research suggests queered approaches to antiracist pedagogy, articulated as an embrace of paradox.
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Contested white students often feel caught between two worlds, liminally situated, betwixt and between monoracial constructions of race. They are a subset of undergraduate and graduate students who are differentially located along the borders of whiteness, but who share common experiences of racial ambiguity, insecurity, and contestation. Contested whites report being under constant pressure to explain and justify their racial location along the borders of whiteness. Their narratives of racialization powerfully reveal the operations of whiteness-at-work in fleeting, everyday moments in U.S. universities and colleges. This manuscript tells the stories of Fly on the Wall moments for three contested white graduate students. I use critical discourse analysis and critical narrative analysis to explore how Fly on the Wall moments reveal iterative, paradoxical constructions of whiteness-at-work. Implications for postsecondary education are explored.
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.
Book
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.
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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.