Towards a truer multicultural science education: how whiteness impacts science education

  • Paul T. LeEmail author
  • Cheryl E. Matias
Original Paper


The hope for multicultural, culturally competent, and diverse perspectives in science education falls short if theoretical considerations of whiteness are not entertained. Since whiteness is characterized as a hegemonic racial dominance that has become so natural it is almost invisible, this paper identifies how whiteness operates in science education such that it falls short of its goal for cultural diversity. Because literature in science education has yet to fully entertain whiteness ideology, this paper offers one of the first theoretical postulations. Drawing from the fields of education, legal studies, and sociology, this paper employs critical whiteness studies as both a theoretical lens and an analytic tool to re-interpret how whiteness might impact science education. Doing so allows the field to reconsider benign, routine, or normative practices and protocol that may influence how future scientists of Color experience the field. In sum, we seek to have the field consider the theoretical frames of whiteness and how it might influence how we engage in science education such that our hope for diversity never fully materializes.


Equity Race Critical theory Cultural 



We thank Dr. Carolina Castano Rodriguez on her critical and informative feedback to the first version of our manuscript. To instructors everywhere at all points in your journeys who continually fight racism and whiteness every day for our students’ humanities, never lose your fire and perseverance. To our whiteness course familia, we thank you all for your constant support and remind you all that you will never stand alone on your journeys.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative Biology, College of Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.School of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

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