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The Snare of Systemic Racism and Other Challenges Confronting Hip-Hop-Based Pedagogy

by Jomo W. Mutegi, Jada A. Phelps-Moultrie & Vanessa R. Pitts Bannister - 2018

Background: Although there has been a pronounced growth in hip-hop-based pedagogy (HHBP) scholarship in recent years, there has not been a concomitant critique of this growing body of work. As a consequence, much of this scholarship is best characterized as advocacy of HHBP.

Purpose/Objective: The objective of this article is to promote critical discourse around the conceptualization and implementation of HHBP by (a) identifying a set of challenges presented in the conceptualization of HHBP scholarship, (b) describing the narrative that these challenges converge to support, and (c) suggesting an alternative narrative aimed at fostering a more empowering use of HHBP.

Research Design: To accomplish this objective, we provide an in-depth critique of Emdin and Lee’s (2012) article, “Hip-hop, the ‘Obama effect,’ and urban science education.” Through this critique, we first identify eight challenges posed by the authors’ argument, as well as the narrative that is the foundation of this argument.

Conclusions/Recommendations: We conclude by presenting an alternate narrative of hip-hop as an instrument of systemic racism and offering suggestions as to how HHBP can be used in both research and practice to both avoid and counter systemic racism.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 11, 2018, p. 1-17
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22461, Date Accessed: 7/24/2021 11:15:49 AM

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About the Author
  • Jomo Mutegi
    Indiana University
    E-mail Author
    JOMO W. MUTEGI is an associate professor in the Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI, and principal investigator of the (ES)2 STEM Learning Lab. He is also PI of CTI Inspire, a National Science Foundation-supported effort designed to prepare preservice teachers to serve urban students through a culturally responsive and socially transformative education. His research foregrounds racism and socially transformative STEM education for people of African descent. Recent publications include: “‘Life’s first need is for us to be realistic’ and other reasons for examining the sociohistorical construction of race in the science performance of African American students” in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (2013); and “Tales from the mic: A content analysis of 10 years of hip-hop lyrics” in the journal African American Learners (2014).
  • Jada Phelps-Moultrie
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    JADA A. PHELPS-MOULTRIE is an assistant professor of educational leadership at Michigan State University. Her research explores the dual phenomena of racial battle fatigue, and “parenting while Black.” She also explores the role of school leaders in perpetuating or disrupting factors that marginalize Black children. Recent publications include: “Talk about a racial eclipse: Narratives of institutional evasion in an urban school–university partnership” in the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership (2017); and “An initial exploration of a community-based framework for educational equity with explicated exemplars” in the journal Race Ethnicity and Education (2017).
  • Vanessa Pitts Bannister
    Florida A&M University
    E-mail Author
    VANESSA R. PITTS BANNISTER is an associate professor and coordinator of mathematics education at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Recently, she was the PI of a Helios Grant program that aimed to improve STEM education through innovative integration and application of proven strategies through coursework and/or professional development. Before this grant, she completed an NSF-funded study of preservice secondary mathematics teachers’ interactions with reform curriculum materials in mathematics methods courses. This line of work resulted in a coedited book and other peer-reviewed publications. Her research interests include teacher and student knowledge in areas of algebra and rational numbers, teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge with respect to curriculum materials, and equity and diversity issues in mathematics education.
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