Beyond the pale : whiteness as inocence in education
Teachers play a pivotal role in the production of discourse on race relations in education, yet few studies have researched the impact of white teacher identity construction as a variable in the creation and maintenance of racial ideologies, particularly here in Canada. The majority of the current research done on racism in schools has produced data that points to the widespread denial of racism by the majority of white teachers and students, while parents, teachers and students of color acknowledge the pervasive role racism plays in their educational and social lives. While the focus on institutional and systemic racism is important, it sometimes denies the role individuals play in the reproduction of racism and in our ability to make change. For these reasons, it is critical to consider the identity constructions of white teachers, as these constructions will influence how we interpret and respond to existing racial inequalities in education. This research will draw from poststructural theories of discourse analysis in order to analyze how white teacher identity constructions of ‘innocence’ are reproduced in an education system where racial inequalities are pervasive and systemic. Discourse analysis and deconstruction are important in understanding the way our subjectivity as white teachers continues to be produced and maintained.This study takes place in the Prairie region, where Aboriginal people have been produced as the racial Other historically. Using an open-ended questionnaire, in-service, and focus group method, this research study invites educators to narrate their own perceptions of racism in schools. The collection and analysis of this data begins to address the theoretical gap in academic knowledge on teacher perceptions of racism in education.
whiteness, anti-racist anti-oppressive education, racism, white teachers, aboriginal education, identity construction, poststructuralism, discourse analysis, Saskatchewan Education
Master of Education (M.Ed.)