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Unleashing the Demons of History

White Resistance in the U.S. Latino Studies Classroom

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Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies Series book series (CFS)

Abstract

Antiracist pedagogy is an intellectual and political practice aimed at decolonizing racially exclusive institutional curricula and teaching practices in college and university classrooms. As such, it represents a radical incursion into the hegemonic knowledge bases and belief systems of racially privileged North American students whose previous educational and social experience has positioned them in the epistemically disadvantaged position of the “power-illiterate” (Kincheloe and Steinberg). White, middle- and upper-class students who have been taught to understand their social advantages as “natural,” and “merit-based” most often reject the central assumption in an-tiracist work, namely that U.S. society is marked by relations of domination in which some groups are targeted for oppression on the basis of race, class, gender, sexuality and others are conferred unearned advantages. Thus, at private liberal arts colleges where the student population is predominantly white and ruling-class, the U.S. Latino studies classroom becomes a space that generates white defensiveness and white resistance in an overtly politicized, counterhegemonic context. Theorizing and understanding white resistance is fundamental to the task of antiracist pedagogy, since this phenomenon (1) reflects the intellectual and ideological effects of the histories of domination that the course seeks to deconstruct, and (2) calls for a pedagogy whose methodology is attentive and responsive to the workings of white power and unexamined white identity in the classroom.

Keywords

  • White Student
  • Racial Identity
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Latino Community
  • Racist Oppression

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.

An insurgent multiculturalism takes as its starting point the question of what it means for educators and cultural workers to treat schools and other public sites as border institutions in which teachers, students and others engage in daily acts of cultural translation and negotiation. For it is within such institutions that students and teachers are offered the opportunity to become border crossers….

—Henry Giroux, “Insurgent Multiculturalism and the Promise of Pedagogy”

The border is all we share/La frontera es lo único que compartimos

—Guillermo Gómez-Peña, “The Multicultural Paradigm”

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© 2002 Amie Macdonald and Susan Sánchez-Casal

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Sánchez-Casal, S. (2002). Unleashing the Demons of History. In: Macdonald, A.A., Sánchez-Casal, S. (eds) Twenty-First-Century Feminist Classrooms. Comparative Feminist Studies Series. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230107250_3

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