The White Papers: Mapping the Journeys of Antiracist White Educators Open Access

Jackson, Taharee Apirom (2011)

Permanent URL:



The White Papers:
Mapping the Journeys of Antiracist White Educators

We must dedicate our best efforts in teacher education to prepare a ninety percent majority of white educators to meet the needs of diverse students. As we simultaneously work toward a more representative teaching force, fundamental to this task is examining how antiracist white educators come to exist. The aim of this two-part research study was to examine the racial conceptualizations, teaching practices, and life experiences of white teachers, teacher educators, and scholar-activists who are committed to antiracism, culturally relevant pedagogy, and social justice. Critical race theory, critical white studies, and theories of culturally relevant pedagogy undergirded both studies. The first portion of this research followed a nominated sample of twelve white urban elementary school teachers. Those data uncovered that some dominant ideologies regarding whiteness, cultural deficit theory, and decontextualized racism can coexist even in the psyche of white teachers who strongly espouse and genuinely demonstrate commitments to antiracism and culturally relevant pedagogy. The second study examined the racial understandings of well-known white teacher educators and scholar-activists who are farther along in their trajectories toward antiracism. The findings indicated that antiracist white educators: (a) understand racism as foundational, institutional, and intersectional; (b) maintain that whites are mis-educated via Eurocentric curricula; and (c) firmly believe that whiteness serves only to dehumanize both people of color and whites. This cadre of scholar-activists cited duping and dissonance, racial devastation and separation, exemplars and efficacy, and subordinate-status relationships as origins of their antiracism. Participants also used conscientious co-optation, white proxyhood, and a keen understanding of "privilege within privilege" in their pedagogies with primarily white educators. These antiracist educators also revealed possibilities for transnational and global antiracist movements, that we might make significant headway in the selection, preparation, and professional learning of a majority white teaching force in education, and in the wider struggle for social justice writ large.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Why White Teachers? The "Critical" Role of Whites in Education

Chapter 2: "Whites have been given every opportunity to succeed" White Teachers on the Path to Antiracism

Chapter 3: The Making of Antiracists: Understanding White Educators who "Understand" Whiteness in Education

Chapter 4: Being White is like Getting an A on a Paper You Didn't Write: Toward a "Pedagogy for the Oppressor" in Teacher Education

Chapter 5: Which Interests are Served by the Principle of Interest Convergence? Whiteness, Collective Trauma, and the Case for Antiracism

Chapter 6: White Teachers Stay Here…Everyone Else is Dismissed: The Unintended Consequences of Whiteness Research

Research Study I: White Classroom Teachers

Appendix A: Participant Profiles

Appendix B: Methods and Matters of Interpretation

Appendix C: Excerpt from the Audit Trail

Research Study II: White Scholar-Activists

Appendix D: "The Method and the Madness"

Appendix E: The Researcher's Perspective


About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files