Advertisement

Teaching About Race and Racism in Our Past and Present

  • Paul OrlowskiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 17)

Abstract

This chapter begins with a personal narrative of becoming slowly conscious of issues of race and discrimination in Canada. The formal curriculum is identified as a hegemonic device in creating myopia around, for example, institutionalized and systemic oppression of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. The various racial discourses used during the nation-building periods of the United States and Canada, the postWorld War II period, and today are explained in ways that teachers can use in the classroom. These racial discourses are connected to conservatism, liberalism, and the critical left. The analysis of the formal social studies curriculum is based on Frankenberg's (White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993) taxonomy of racial discourses and Apple's (2004) Ideology & Curriculum. These discourses are also apparent in the attitudes of White teachers toward racial minorities. The chapter also discusses the various forms of multiculturalism outlined by Kincheloe and Steinberg (Changing multiculturalism, Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 1997) and links them to political ideology, as well. Readers will understand that the conservative critique of multicultural education emphasizes that it waters down the western canon, while the position of many in the critical left is that liberal pluralist forms of multicultural education do not do enough to combat racism. The chapter demonstrates how the popular color-blind discourse supports the myth of meritocracy. The color-blind and the cultural-deficit discourses have greatly influenced the thinking of many teachers. Readers will develop a comprehension of how racial and cultural power structures are maintained within liberal power-blind conceptions of multicultural education. Exercises will focus on both personal and theoretical reflections on these concepts and research findings.

Keywords

Aboriginal People Political Ideology White People Multicultural Education Racist Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge-Falmer.Google Scholar
  2. B.C. Department of Education, Division of Curriculum. (1956). Junior and senior high schools of British Columbia. Victoria: Queen’s Printer of British Columbia.Google Scholar
  3. Cheney, L. V. (1994, October 20). The end of history. Wall Street Journal, A11.Google Scholar
  4. Counts, G. (1932). Dare progressive education be progressive? Progressive Education, 9, 257–263. Reprinted (1982) as Dare the school build a new social order? by New York: John Day.Google Scholar
  5. Dunne, M., & Gazeley, L. (2008, September). Teachers, social class and underachievement. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29, 451–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fanon, F. (1952). Black skin, white masks (C. L. Markmann, Trans.). Paris: Éditions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  7. Fanon, F. (1967). The wretched of the Earth. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  8. Frankenberg, R. (1993). White women, race matters: The social construction of Whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  9. Graf, G. (1994). Beyond the culture wars: How teaching the conflicts can revitalize American education. In W. E. Cain (Ed.), Teaching the conflicts: Gerald Graf, curricular reform, and the culture wars (pp. 3–16). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  10. Granatstein, J. L. (1999, August 28). A politically correct history leads to a distorted past and a bleak future. The National Post, p. A13.Google Scholar
  11. Hale, G. E. (1998). Making whiteness: The culture of segregation in the south, 1890–1940. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  12. Herrnstein, R. J., & Murray, C. (1994). The bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hirsch, E. D. (1987). Cultural literacy: What every American needs to know. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  14. Hirsch, E. D. (1996). The schools we need and why we don’t have them. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  15. Juarez, B., Smith, D., & Hayes, C. (2008). Social justice means just us white people: The diversity paradox in teacher education. Democracy & Education, 17(3), 20–25.Google Scholar
  16. Kincheloe, J., & Steinberg, S. (1997). Changing multiculturalism. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Leroy, C., & Symes, B. (2001). Teachers’ perspectives on the family backgrounds of children at risk. McGill Journal of Education, 36(1), 45–61.Google Scholar
  18. Lewis, A. (2001). There is no “race” in the schoolyard: Color-blind ideology in an (almost) all-White school. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 781–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women’s studies. Wellesley, MA: Centre for Research on Women.Google Scholar
  20. Orlowski, P. (2001). Ties that bind and ties that blind: Race and class intersections in the classroom. In C. E. James & A. Shadd (Eds.), Talking about identity: Encounters in race, ethnicity, and language (pp. 250–266). Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  21. Orlowski, P. (2008). “That would certainly be spoiling them”: Liberal discourses of social studies teachers and concerns about Aboriginal students. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 31(2), 110–129.Google Scholar
  22. Ravitch, D. (2000). Left back: A century of failed school reform. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  23. Roediger, D. R. (1999). The wages of whiteness: Race and the making of the American working class (rev. ed.). New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  24. Rugg, H. O. (1921). Reconstructing the curriculum: An open letter to Professor Henry Johnson commenting on Committee Procedure as illustrated by the Report of the Joint Committee on History and Education for Citizenship. Historical Outlook, 12, 184–189. Reprinted in W. C. Parker (Ed.), (1996). Educating the democratic mind. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005a). Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 235–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005b). Wanted: More race-realism, less moralistic fallacy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 328–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Santa Cruz, N. (2010, May 12). Arizona bill targeting ethnic studies signed into law. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/12/nation/la-na-ethnic-studies-20100512
  28. Sleeter, C. E., & Grant, C. A. (1994). Making choices for multicultural education: Approaches to race, class, and gender (2nd ed.). New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  29. Stoler, A. L. (1997). Race and the education of desire: Foucault’s “History of sexuality” and the colonial order of things (3rd ed.). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Williams, R. (1980). Problems in materialism and culture: Selected essays. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  31. Wilson, E. O. (1975). Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  32. Young, R. J. C. (1995). Colonial desire: Hybridity in theory, culture and race. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Saskatchewan/SaskatoonSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations