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Journeying Toward Transformative Teaching in the Age of Alternative Facts and Re-Ascendant Ethnic and Racial Prejudice


by Shilpi Sinha & Shaireen Rasheed - 2020

Background: We are at a historical juncture that is punctuated by the rise of white nationalism, an exacerbation of racial divisions and tensions, an uptick in hate crimes, and bullying increasingly targeting immigrant youth, all of which, in the current political and cultural climate, have often been legitimized through a recourse to “alternative facts.” However, the current historical moment in the United States is also marked by a postmodern ethos, which is often taken up by the public in a fragmentary manner, highlighted by a general sense of incredulity regarding any form of knowledge. At the same time, the fuller, ethical context of postmodernism complicates how educators may pedagogically address and respond to the tensions and conflict that filter over into the university classroom from the social strife and injustices evident in the society at large. The ethical context of postmodernism warns against changing hearts and minds with a proliferation of the “right” facts assumed to be devoid of attachments of value. It also warns us to be vigilant against the foreclosures, reductions, and exclusions that occur when one draws on metanarratives and universals to mobilize against injustice.

Purpose: We explore what it means pedagogically, for teacher educators in predominantly white institutions, to be situated at a historical juncture that calls out for some form of social advocacy on their part to combat the rise in the politicization of truth and xenophobic and racist sentiment, but are simultaneously compelled to keep in mind the ethical lessons of postmodernism.

Research Design: We utilize critical phenomenological analysis intertwined with a narrative accounting of both authors’ classroom experiences as they attempt to engage college students at a predominantly white university with issues of racism, white privilege, and marginalization. We analyze and reflect on the mixed reactions of our students to a presentation on teaching in a diverse world, given by one of the authors to the other author’s class of pre-service teachers.

Conclusions/Recommendations: For teaching that may facilitate white students’ ability to become reflective of their positionality as structured through whiteness and its attendant privileges, it is important to envision pedagogical work taking place within environments that can address not only students’ cognitive capacities but also the white body schema, which operates at a pre-reflective level. Educators may refrain from reducing white students to reified categories of whiteness by cultivating a disposition of wonder that may allow them to understand whiteness through the lens of emergent realities rather than substantive, ontological forces.




The United States is currently seeing a resurgence of white nationalist sentiment, an exacerbation of racial divisions and tensions, an uptick in hate crimes, and bullying increasingly targeting immigrant youth, all of which, in the current political and cultural climate, have often been legitimized through a recourse to “alternative facts.” However, the current historical moment in the United States is also marked by a postmodern ethos, which complicates how educators may pedagogically address and respond to the tensions and conflict that filter over into the university classroom from the social strife and injustices evident in the society at large. The strife currently evident in the United States has its counterpart in the populism and anti-immigrant sentiment that is on the rise in places like Australia and Central Europe as well as the nationalist sentiments driving Brexit in England. Hence, while our focus is on the United States, we believe that our analysis will have implications for teacher education in other countries.


In keeping with the postmodern distancing from the Enlightenment project’s claims to universal truths and grand or metanarratives, the postmodern ethos indicates, on the one hand, the “manifestation of a widespread incredulity” (Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 313), where any foundational or canonical knowledge, be it conservative or critical, and their authorizing centers, are all called into question (Edwards, 2006, p. 276). As Richard Edwards writes, “There is a diversification of modes, centres and sources of knowledge production and of social actor positions. The result is less certainty as to what constitutes authoritative discourse and who can speak authoritatively on and as a subject”1 (Edwards, 2006, p. 276). Such an ethos was exemplified in one of the authors’ classes, where after watching a CNN study on young children’s racial preferences and biases that concluded both black and white children were biased toward lighter skin tones, a student emphatically stated, “Research and statistics can always be manipulated to prove whatever it is you want to prove. You can produce any conclusion you want!”


However, one can argue that the very politicization of truth that we see in the era of Trump, while not exactly aligned with the tenets of postmodernism (Edsall, 2018), is nevertheless symptomatic of the way that the postmodern ethos “has permeated in a fragmentary way nearly all aspects of contemporary culture and thought” (Wang Ning, 2013, our italics). In other words, to limit the postmodern ethos to the rise of incredulity is to distort the full context of such an ethos. The postmodern ethos can be viewed in a fuller context through its ethical moorings. If we look at postmodernity through the lens of Jacques Derrida (1988, 1990), for example, the postmodern impetus has been marked by the ethical concern for the remembrance of alterity, or the retaining of the space for the otherness of the other, understood as the otherness of the human being that has not yet been categorized, calculated, or taken up by any system. Here, the very interrogation of absolute truth claims about humanity, bound up as they are with metanarratives about human nature, can all be seen to have been originally driven by the concern for the exclusion of the marginalized and the oppressed from the realm of universals and metanarratives, or correlatively, concern for the very fitting in of the marginalized and oppressed into a dominant group’s normalized discourse. Both have often served to relegate the other to the sub or even non-human (Eze, 1997; Medina, 2013; Serequeberhan,1997; Sinha, 1998, 2015; also, see the reference to Walter Mignolo’s work in the introductory article to this special issue). The violence that inheres in and results from the drive towards truth, universals, and metanarratives is what has been brought to light in much of postmodern thought (see Biesta, 2009; Mendible, 2017; Sidorkin, 1999).


Thus what postmodern thought also highlights is the imbrication of power with knowledge and discourse. Part of the postmodern condition has been the interrogation of metanarratives and universals by the foregrounding of perspectives and voices previously assimilated into the “dominant discourses and structures” (Wang & Yu 2006, p. 29). One can thus argue that postmodernity has been hospitable to a push towards the loosening from repressive practices and structures. But most importantly, one can also argue that in this current climate, the ethical moorings of the postmodern ethos have been disassociated or decontextualized from the lived experience of systemic, symbolic, and racialized oppression and marginalization. Instead, it has been co-opted by those who have traditionally occupied various spaces of dominance and privilege.  


Hence, our concern in this paper is to explore what it means for us pedagogically, as teacher educators in predominantly white institutions, to be situated at a historical juncture that calls out for some form of social justice advocacy on our part to combat the rise in the politicization of truth and xenophobic and racist sentiment, but simultaneously compels us to keep in mind the lessons of postmodernism. These lessons are the following: (1) One must remain vigilant against the “language of conviction” (Sidorkin, 1999, p. 146), which refers to any general theory that orients itself and calls for mobilization around an ideal to be attained. Vigilance is required because such orientation and mobilization is inevitably linked to “various repressive practices” (Sidorkin, 1999, p. 146) as well as the “collateral damage” that derives from the very drive towards any ideal. (2) We cannot address the issues raised at this historical juncture by reverting back to the idea that we just need to provide our students with greater amounts of true information, predicated on the assumption of the separation of fact from attachments of value.2 Nor can we just arm students with the tools to distinguish true from false or ideologically laden information. This is because as Antti Saari (2016) has noted, a positivist ethos both silences voices and meanings that cannot be quantified and it also marginalizes certain (e.g., philosophical and historical) methods of inquiry (p. 601). The postmodern claim of how power is always implicated in the formulation of discourses and knowledge has infiltrated contemporary public consciousness to make recourse to the notion of value free facts less compelling. Correlatively, Jean Francois Lyotard (1984) has coined the term “little narratives”—as contrasted with sweeping, “grand” narratives about the nature of humanity—to capture how the oppressed and marginalized have given voice to their own descriptions of who and what they are. The presence of these counter-descriptions, or “little narratives,” militates against a reverting back to the fact-value dichotomy.     


In addition, the focus on facts remains linked to pedagogical intervention at the level of cognition, beliefs, reflection, mental constructs, and critical consciousness raising. However, as we will see, teaching that desires to enable students to acknowledge, care about, and interrogate their own relation to injustices such as racism threatens to become an impotent endeavor if it remains solely within the cognitive realm. Our thinking comes to this point through a coalescence of a number of our university classroom experiences and one joint classroom experience in particular that pushed us to begin to articulate the pedagogical task differently.


In the first section of the paper we lay out the pedagogical challenges we faced at our predominantly white universities and in our classrooms due to the tensions that arose after the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Both of us are substantially involved in teacher education, in what are called Educational Foundations. Additionally, we have focused on issues of justice, equity, and diversity across our respective lines of educational research. We explain how we initially tried to address post-election challenges in one of the foundations classes at one of the author’s university, and we draw out the fault lines evidenced in our pedagogy through our students’ resistances.3 In the second part of the paper, we explore the shortfalls of our pedagogical commitments through the framework of critical phenomenology, which posits the need to address the racializing and privileged habituated body schema of white students. In the conclusion, we point to how the insights of critical phenomenology may remain responsive to the challenges the ethical context of postmodernism pose for us, specifically postmodernism’s warning to remain vigilant against the violence that is associated with the “language of conviction.”         


POST ELECTION CAMPUS DISCONTENT AND PEDAGOGICAL CHANGES


After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, two key incidents occurred at Shilpi’s campus that could be seen to mirror the broader tensions in society. During an intercollegiate game, the men’s lacrosse team chose to come onto the playing field accompanied by part of the speech that Donald Trump gave during the Republican National Convention. This act was approved by the coach and athletic director. While the president of the university recognized the students’ right to free speech, she highlighted that the university’s teams are supposed to represent the university as a whole and therefore condemned the endorsement of a particular politician and their platform and emphasized the ideal of an inclusive environment. Subsequently, many e-mail exchanges as well as face to face conversations occurred among a number of faculty across disciplines, student leaders on campus, and an administrator from the university office of diversity, all of whom were part of an ad hoc committee set up to address and explore issues of race and diversity on campus Some of the faculty felt that the administration’s response was not strong enough. However, other faculty reported that many students in their classes felt that the university had overreacted and that the offense that was taken had to do with leftist politics, not the content of Trump’s campaign. Some of the faculty felt that many students could not accept that Trump’s words could be hateful and offensive to those in marginalized populations.

The second incident occurred at a “Chalk Up” event on campus, which is part of the university’s annual ephemeral arts exhibition. Students, faculty, administration, and staff were invited to participate in “chalking up” the campus through images and texts. One of the chalk texts contained the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” At some point, the original slogan was crossed out and in its place “Blue Lives Matter” was written. Such tensions of the divisive political and cultural climate could be felt in our education classes as well, especially when issues of equity and justice were discussed.  


Both of us teach on Long Island, historically, home of one of the most segregated school districts in the country (Heading in the Wrong Direction: Growing School Segregation on Long Island, 2015). Long Island demographics also reflect the larger demographic shift occurring in the United States, where in 2014, 50.3% of the K–12 public school students identified as black, Hispanic, Asian, or other non-white ethnicity (Strauss, 2014). By 2022 it is expected that 45% of public-school K–12 students will be white (Klein, 2017). On Long Island, the non-white student population in the last twelve years increased from 29% to 45% (Shah, 2017). However, the teaching force has not kept up with this demographic shift as teachers remain predominantly white (80%) and female (77%) (Loewus, 2017). Hence, our students, who were comprised mainly of middle class, white, cisgender preservice education students, were getting prepared to enter a school system where the majority of the population would not look like them. Our challenge was to familiarize our teacher candidates with issues of diversity, be it in terms of race, ethnicity, cultural, and religious affiliations, ability, or gender variation/sexual orientation, as it pertained to the future students they would be encountering in their own classes.  


In Shilpi’s Philosophy of Education class, which was a required course for teacher candidates, Socratic seminars, films, debates, and students’ performative enactments of lessons and imagined interactions in their future classrooms were utilized to explore philosophies of education within the context of current social issues and conflicts. Shilpi taught two sections of this course, both of which met twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes each session and was comprised of 37 students in total. The readings and activities of the course were meant to help encourage the interrogation of the discourse of agency, autonomy, and individual choice making, implicit in the idea of the sovereign subject, in relation to the effects of institutional and structural racism. The notion of what teacher neutrality in the context of teaching controversial issues might mean and in what ways it might be problematic was also explored and discussed. Works that detailed the experiences of marginalized and oppressed groups were read in conjunction with discussions of what would constitute culturally responsive and racially literate teaching. The pedagogical focus was not merely on argumentation but also on creating the spaces for students to feel strong emotions both in themselves and to receive the charged emotions of others in the hopes making space for the “felt weight” of the reality of those who are different from them to be manifested. In Levinasian and Derridean terms, the “felt weight” of the other (Sinha, 2010) indicates the nagging sense of discomfort arising from the fact that one can never answer once and for all the need, appeal, or question of the other that upsurges behind any response one offers the other human being. The nagging sense of discomfort is what pushes one to remain open to the other human being in ways that do not remain circumscribed to one’s categorizations of the other human being or to one’s socialized responses to them.  


Hence it was within the above backdrop that Shaireen was invited to Shilpi’s class of teacher candidates to talk about the current issues of diversity facing students in K–12 schools in the neighboring districts of Long Island, NY. Shaireen is a professor of philosophy and education and teaches issues of diversity and social justice. Her research focuses on how issues of diversity and pluralism can be successfully addressed and implemented by preservice and in-service teachers in their own classrooms. In a related project, the two colleagues had previously collaborated on a research project that examined the challenges and effectiveness of teaching about race and privilege through the lens of racialized educators (see Sinha & Rasheed, 2018).


Thus, one day in March of 2018, Shaireen visited one of Shilpi’s undergraduate Philosophy of Education classes, where 28 students, present from both sections of the course, attended the presentation. Three were students of color. Most came from the neighboring areas within Long Island. Shaireen approached the hour and fifteen minute session with the intention of engaging the students to think through difference rather than remaining at the level of understanding difference in its various categories, since the latter served to maintain students’ safe distance from the messy intricacies of the embodied experiences of racialization. In other words, when understanding difference at a surface level, students acknowledged categories like race and gender in their classrooms, but without necessarily considering their own positionality (e.g., white and female ) and its relation to the different categories. When students could start thinking through difference by using difference as a lens for examining the various classifications of diversity, the assumption was that they would gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of acquiring cultural competencies that went beyond sorting students by categories. Using Kimberley W. Crenshaw’s (1994) framework of intersectionality, Shaireen wanted to explain to the class how racial identities were not fixed categories through which those who were marginalized were to be understood.


In the past when Shaireen had immediately delved into a lecture discussing issues of race, gender, sexuality, etc., and their embodied effects in relation to issues of privilege and bias, she would often get blank stares or resistance from students who lacked an understanding of the historical context and had a difficult time conceptually understanding implicit and explicit bias. Bias as a theoretical category was something that had little or no relationship to them as it did not affect them, or, alternatively, as something they related to only insofar as it was something “out there” that they had to “fix.” Rarely did her students consider themselves to be a part of the racism dialogue and almost never implicated in it.


To contextualize her discussion on privilege, Shaireen started the class by explaining to the students that they would first engage in a ten minute exercise titled, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (McIntosh, 1989), where they would answer a list of questions to help them better reflect and situate themselves in the discourse on diversity and social justice that would ensue later on in the class. The list contained 26 questions such as the following: “Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability”; “If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area that I can afford and in which I would want to live”; “I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me” (McIntosh, 1989) The students were made aware that the aim of the exercise was to help them become cognizant of their own positionalities and the dynamics of power relations that might be evident in their future classrooms. It was Shaireen’s hope to make the students reflect on where they situated themselves in the racial and privilege hierarchy and to also enable a more thorough analysis of the dynamics of systemic inequality.


As soon as the students completed the exercise, Shaireen asked them how they felt as they were undertaking the exercise.  She was surprised at the some of the responses she received in the ensuing discussion, which included the following:


“I don’t understand why you made us engage in this exercise”


 “It is not my fault that I am perceived as privileged. Nor is it a correct interpretation

of my status in society. I don't consider myself privileged nor do I feel it gives me

opportunities others are denied”


“I feel I am somehow accountable for realizing that I am privileged, as if

somehow the society is blaming me. And that I am responsible for the inequitable

dynamics of power”


Shaireen reiterated to the class that the aim of the exercise was to encourage them to become reflective of their role in navigating conscious and unconscious privilege, thereby facilitating a sense of accountability on their part. Nevertheless, a majority of the students felt that they were themselves victims of reverse racism, thereby signaling a profound disconnect between, as George Yancy notes, the world as it is and the world that is constructed by the white gaze” (Yancy, 2013). The students’ responses indicated a lack of reflection or a disconnect between an understanding of how racism is perpetuated and their own role in it, where, utilizing Yancy’s insight, we could say they did not connect their own racism “to the subtlety of [their] racist performance’’ (Yancy, 2008, p. 234).  


It is important to note here that theorists such as Lawrence Blum (1999, 2002) maintain a distinction between white students’ complicity in racist structures and systems due to their white privilege and thereby their accountability, and what is signified by the term “racist.” Blum reserves the latter “to those actions, beliefs, institutions, and policies that involve inferiorization of or antipathy toward a racial group” (Applebaum, 2007, p. 459). However, Barbara Applebaum (2007) maintains that such a distinction is predicated on what Iris Marion Young calls the liability model of responsibility, where responsibility indicates to be guilty, to be at fault, and to be accorded blame. Here there is a sense of intentionally causing or participating in the action that causes harm and by virtue of this intentional participation one is accorded responsibility. However, as Appelbaum notes, “white complicity is distinctively characterized by unintentional participation” (2007, p. 462). In other words, “while individuals participate in structural injustice as members of collectivities and through social processes that they perpetuate, they do not necessarily have a direct relation to such harms nor do they often intend them” (2007, p. 462). Furthermore, an individual’s voluntary action cannot remedy structural injustice. Thus, on the liability model it becomes difficult to link individual responsibility to structural injustice, in which one participates unintentionally. Correlatively, white complicity, per Blum, can thus be divorced from the terminology of “racist” action. However, drawing on Iris Marion Young again, Applebaum argues that individual responsibility can be linked with structural injustice if responsibility is understood not through a Liability Model but a Social Connection Model of Responsibility, where responsibility is based not on looking backwards to the direct or indirect cause, to the one who is at fault and can be blamed and deemed guilty, but rather, is based on looking forward, on how individuals ”bear responsibility when they contribute to the processes that produce unjust outcomes” (Applebaum, 2007, p. 463). Responsibility denotes whether and how individuals partake in collective action to change institutions and processes so that more just outcomes may be produced (Applebaum, 2007, p. 464). Hence, following Applebaum’s trajectory of thought, we retain the link between complicity, white privilege, and the terminology of racism. We believe it is important to do so because what is at issue here is precisely, as Applebaum states, “how one defines the problem” (2007, p. 465). What happens when we divorce the terminology of racism or racist from “white privilege”? White students’ defensiveness may be lowered, but, with Applebaum, we ask, “at what cost?” Whose and what interests does that serve? White privilege is understood as unintentional and thus not linked to racism for Blum. This fixes the definition of racism from the perpetrators’ perspective. If the terminology of “racism” or “racist” is understood from the victim’s perspective, then the definition is very different. Taking away the terminology of racist or racism thus “hides certain things from our awareness” (Applebaum, 2007). The focus settles on protecting the perceived moral goodness of white people and it protects certain ways of looking at the world.


Finally, our students’ responses to Shaireen’s presentation could be seen to be illustrative of what Robin DiAngelo (2011) has described as “white fragility,” which is ”a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves” (p. 57), which may encompass emotions of anger, fear, and guilt, or behaviors of arguing, becoming silent or leaving the situation (DiAngelo, 2011) . DiAngelo defines racial stress as that which results when what is racially familiar is interrupted as, for example, when people of color talk about their racial perspectives, which often challenge white racial codes. In other words, white fragility signifies a lack of physical as well as ethical stamina in dealing with the consequences and effects of the racial divide and its conflicts. Such fragility is in contrast to the affective skills and stamina that people of color have had to develop due to the socio-political materiality of being raced. The socio-political materiality of being raced indicates the person of color’s physical and economic struggle to survive and flourish due to the structural consequences and the effects of racializing perceptual practices wrought by the historical debasement of the body of color as signifying a diminished personhood, or moral inequality to the white body (Mills, 2014; Sinha, 2018).


DiAngelo traces the rise of White Fragility to the following factors: (1) the representational, informational, geographical and educational segregation “within which most white people live;” (DiAngelo, 2011, 58) (2) the positioning and living of whiteness as a universal that remains invisible, which thus leads to an “inability to think about whiteness as a state of being that could have an impact on one’s life;” (DiAngelo, 2011, 59) (3) the racial comfort and psychic freedom within which whites move through the world (DiAngelo, 2011, 61–62). Such comfort and freedom comes with not seeing oneself as a racialized subject, which signifies that “race is for people of color to think about—it is what happens to ‘them’” (63). Consequently, DiAngelo notes that for whites, any racial discomfort is often equated with an affront to their safety and thus results in “socially-sanctioned” (61) penalizing moves against “the perceived source of discomfort” (DiAngelo, 2011, 61). It was not a coincidence that the handful of white students who related to the exercise non-defensively and said that the exercise made them aware of their privilege within a power hierarchy, had identified as being marginalized based on the intersection of their other self-identifications (i.e., as part of the LGBTQI+ community). They themselves had borne the brunt of others’ heterosexual, cisgender privilege, and were thus open to analyzing where their intersectional identities positioned them. In keeping with DiAngelo’s analysis, the other students in the class did not directly engage with the above students’ sentiments. They either remained silent in response to the latter’s comments or merely reiterated their sense that the questions about white privilege were in some sense unfair or erroneous.


The second part of Shaireen’s presentation was a PowerPoint on “Teaching in a Diverse World: Case Study of Culturally Responsive Pedagogies in a New York Public School.” The PowerPoint was sectioned into three parts: (1) the importance and relevance of creating global and cultural competencies in the classroom when addressing issues of race and privilege; (2) national policies pertaining to race and racism; (3) local examples of racism in K–12 schools. The aim of her lecture was to elucidate how policies pertaining to race at varying global, national, and local levels get played out in the classroom. It is important to mention that when Shaireen lectured on the importance of acquiring global and cultural competencies when understanding issues of diversity, mostly all the students were in agreement as to why this was an essential characteristic of a successful teaching pedagogy. The majority of the class enthusiastically volunteered to give numerous examples of global enrichment from their own experiences of hosting international students as part of foreign exchange programs, participating in study abroad and international travel programs through their schools, and being involved in clubs such as the Model United Nations. However, when it came to discussing the current national context of policies affecting diversity, more students started showing resistance towards understanding why and how policies like “The Muslim Ban,” policies against DACA and the DREAMact, and policies against LGBTQI+ interests, were oppressive to certain groups of people. Nevertheless, by and large the class agreed that the policies discussed were conceptually problematic because of their marginalizing effect. It was when the discussion ventured into the local context that the students started exhibiting the most resistance to the presentation.


Monisha Bajaj, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, and Karishma Desai (2016), as part of their research on bullying, explain how xenophobia and racism come together to shape realities for youth in schools. According to their research, absent from conventional literature on bullying is how misfortune and ignorance, fueled by discourses of national security, can be propagated by staff, teachers, and administrators, rendering the bullying of South Asian youth invisible or unworthy of action (Bajaj, Ghaffar-Kucher, & Desai, 2016). Using their research framework on bullying and its relationship to xenophobia, Shaireen moved the discussion into the local context by offering concrete examples, both subtle and explicit, about how current national policies were influencing bullying and harassment in classrooms on Long Island. One example she offered was of Muslim students who were intentionally or unintentionally oppressed in a classroom when discussing 9/11 in the absence of a critically inclusive 9/11 curriculum. She provided concrete examples from local schools in Long Island, some of which the students had attended, to illustrate her point. One example she provided was a 9/11 lesson a social studies teacher had assigned to a seventh-grade class that included writing an essay from a list of topics that included the following “life event” (as the teacher referred to it.) The assignment read:


Hijackers from Middle East terrorist groups fly two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the tallest buildings in New York and the symbols of America and into the Pentagon (houses the U.S department of Defense (in Washington, DC).


Shaireen asked the students if they could identify anything problematic with the above assignment by the teacher. When most students responded that they did not see any issue with the example, she further pressed them to question if the teacher’s choice of words, in this case the use of “Middle East” to describe terrorist groups, was problematic and whether it was marginalizing the Middle Eastern students in the class by reinforcing stereotypes of who constituted a terrorist. Because there was an absence of any context to elucidate the point that terrorists come from all over the place, including internally, in this country, (e.g., Timothy McVeigh), the teacher had not provided an opportunity for students in the class, including those from Middle Eastern backgrounds, to critically discuss the role of historical conflicts and issues surrounding them.


There was apparently something in this particular example and other related classroom examples of bullying that Shaireen proceeded to share with the class that was making the majority of the class extremely uncomfortable. The students articulated their discomfort by supporting an overwhelming sentiment that spoke to the “good migrant” stereotype. They believed that if the Muslim students or other immigrant students aligned themselves with “the American values on how we do things here in America,” they would not feel oppressed or marginalized. Although the majority of the students in the class agreed that various ethnic, religious, sexual, and geographical backgrounds should be part of an inclusive curriculum, their agreement only went so far as it was predicated on the understanding that “inclusion” signified belief in a specific value structure and predetermined understanding of what it meant to be an American. Incidentally, Shaireen had started her presentation by critiquing both assimilation and multicultural pedagogies, proposing that public schools pursue neither of these approaches when discussing issues of diversity and race in the classroom. Using the work of Sonia Nieto (1994), she explained that the problem of teachers “doing” multiculturalism in the classrooms is that it consists largely of additive content rather than structural or ideological changes in content or process. Correlatively, in an assimilation framework the onus is on the student to acclimate to the dominant group’s narrative, downplaying their individuality (see also Rasheed, 2007, 2018).


In response to Shaireen’s presentation, the students continued to exhibit a disjuncture in their understanding of how the global, national, and local levels could be coherently aligned by educators in addressing and attempting to be responsive to diversity. When Shaireen asked for further clarification from the students as to what exactly some of these predetermined “American values” were, their responses included the following:


“They need to speak English, they cannot be oppressed by their parent’.


“They need to be patriotic and denounce terrorism that the religion of Islam seems to encourage.’’


“They should cover [wear the hijab] only if they choose to because now they are not in their own country but here.”


“Once they are in America they should speak English, not Spanish.”


The students in the class expressed ethnocentric biases that Reva Jaffe-Walter (2016) identified as “coercive,” in her ethnographic research of Muslim students in a Dutch public secondary school. By exploring a series of interactions between teachers and the immigrant youth from multiple perspectives, Jaffe-Walter’s revealed how some teachers conceived of their work with Muslim students through the framework of concern, more specifically, their desire to share with their students the freedoms associated with Danish ideals of gender equity and democracy as an escape from what they believed to be a hierarchical cycle of gender oppression in the Muslim community. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s “technologies of concern,” which mark particular bodies as objects of state power that require particular kinds of intervention (Jaffe-Walter, 2016, pp. 6–7), Jaffe-Walter explored the mechanisms through which the multiple discursive narratives of “care” and stereotypes of Muslim immigrants in Western liberal societies flowed into the public schools, informing how Muslim youth were perceived, as well as how their peers and teachers interacted with them (Jaffe-Walter, 2016, pp. 1–2). As Jaffe-Walter noted, “Unlike overt forms of state power, technologies of concern conceal their own operation under the language of science or universal values” (Jaffe-Walter, 2016, pp. 1–2). Technologies of concern emerge in the context of public consensus that ‘’something must be done’’ about the contemporary ‘problems’ of Muslim immigration (Jaffe-Walter, 2016, pp. 6–7).


When Shaireen further challenged the preservice teachers to rethink their stance on teaching “American values,” which was synonymous with the fostering of the ideal migrant stereotype, since such pedagogies might not reflect the embodied realities of their future students, most of the class became defensive. At this point, a white, male student who had had enough, walked out of class; other students were rolling their eyes and shifting uncomfortably in their seats. The overall body language of the students in the class was one of being visibly upset. However, one student who identified as gay did articulate her discomfort at being in a predominantly heterosexual environment throughout her K–12 experiences. She noted that she often felt oppressed or marginalized by her heterosexual peers. To this, another student replied that, “It was not his fault she felt uncomfortable.”


By now it was clear to Shaireen that in spite of her best intentions to create a climate of culturally inclusive and pedagogically responsive teaching, the lesson she had carefully and intentionally prepared was not going according to plan in the time that she had with Shilpi’s class. In terms of her own limitations she admitted she did not know these students; she had not developed and cultivated a relationship of trust and safety where she and the students could allow themselves to engage in a non-judgmental and non-defensive way. It was clear to Shilpi as well that her own pedagogical attempts to engage her students with issues of diversity in the classes leading up to the presentation had been superficial at best. In Shilpi’s previous class sessions, while most students had deemed the recognition and integration of difference and diversity in the curriculum to be important, thereby mirroring their subsequent agreement with Shaireen’s delineation of global education, the previous class sessions had not been sufficient to set the stage for them to be able to explore in any meaningful way their own positioning in relation to marginalization or oppression.


In retrospect, notwithstanding Shilpi’s attempts to keep open the spaces for the manifestation of the “felt weight” of the other, the overall guiding ethos of her previous classes could be seen to have remained at the level of critical consciousness raising. That is to say, the focus had remained on students grappling with the ideas, information, and facts that would push them towards the internal conflict between the new knowledge, their personally held beliefs, and implicit self-knowledge (Lewis, 2016, p. 5), and the purported harnessing of such conflict into a “heightened awareness of their relation to the community, the world and history” (Gonsalves, 2007, p. 5; see also Lewis, 2016, p. 5). By default, the racial homogeneity of the class pushed aside the attempts of creating spaces where the “felt weight” of the other could be felt in any sustained way. Shaireen had presumed the students were not only ready for her presentation, but that they would in some way be transformed to think ethically about issues of race and privilege. Yet in spite of her attempts to make the students understand their own privilege within an intersectional framework and its relationship to issues of whiteness and power when deconstructing categories of race, the students seemed to have a stubborn blind eye when it came to some of the issues which she was presenting. There seemed to be a perceived insistence on rendering invisible their own relational dynamics of whiteness in discussions of privilege and race (see for example, work by Gloria Anzaldua, W.E.B. du Bois, Walter Mignolo, and others referenced in the introductory article to this special issue).


The Racializing Habituated Body


Where had our “prep work” and pedagogical commitments faltered? Ghassan Hage (1998) argued against the presumption that racism is caused by ignorance, and that anti-racism will come about through more knowledge. This is not to say that more knowledge is not necessary, however, it is not sufficient. We had mistakenly assumed that by teaching students about their privilege, followed by outlining the nuances of how privilege is made manifest as racism in various contexts, they would have the requisite pedagogical, philosophical, and ethical tools to become self-conscious about their own racism. The assumption was that somehow this new reflective critical consciousness would aid in helping them name their own racisms, enabling them to transform their oppressive pedagogies to transformative, problem posing pedagogies, that would allow them to engage in authentic critical self-inquiry.


However, contemporary research in critical phenomenology (Ahmed, 2007; Al-Saji, 2014; Lewis, 2016; Ngo, 2016) “flips the script” on what is assumed to be fundamental for transformative, anti-racist change in students to occur. The traditional tools of anti-racist education, which remain focused primarily on raising critical consciousness, dialogue, and debate, work on the assumption of the causality of beliefs, cognition, and reflection; that, “if we change beliefs, what we perceive and see will also change” (Lewis, 2016, p. 3). However, critical phenomenologists such as Helen Ngo, Tyson E. Lewis, Alia Al-Saji, and Sara Ahmed, drawing on the work of phenomenologists such as Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau Ponty, highlight change as predicated on the shifts that occur at the level of bodily visual perception, movements, and gestures. Lewis (2016) argues that conservative white student resistance to aspects of anti-racist education occurs fundamentally not because of “a lack of mental understanding of the materials or a psychological blockage due to beliefs” (p. 6), but due to “the almost automatic way the body adjusts itself to its environment, selectively hearing and seeing certain things as relevant, meaningful and important before mental monitoring/filtering even takes place” (Lewis, 2016). Ngo (2016) further emphasizes that “racism is not simply a practice one engages in through conscious words or actions, nor is it merely a set of attitudes held in thoughts; rather it is more deeply embedded in our bodily habits of movement, gesture, perception and orientation” (p. 848).


Critical phenomenology thus builds on the Merleau-Pontian insight that we are fundamentally in relation with the world through our body schema (Merleau-Ponty, 2012), which is the “pre-representational sensory motor capacity functioning below the level of reflective awareness,” (Lewis, 2016, p. 7) and which “provides a posture toward a certain task, actual or possible”(Merleau Ponty as quoted in Lewis, 2016, p. 7). Such sensory motor capacity is inclusive of “bodily visual perception” (Ngo, 2016, p. 835) and bodily movement and gesture. However, importantly, going beyond traditional phenomenology, critical phenomenology extends our understanding of the body schema as already racialized, where “race does not just interrupt [the body] schema, but structures its mode of operation” (Ahmed, 2007, p. 153) and is a constitutive aspect of it (Lewis, 2016, p. 9) due to “a pre-personal, pre-psychological bodily inscription of racism that determines who the embodied self relates to and how the body positions itself in, orients itself toward and acts upon the world” (Lewis, 2016, p. 9). In other words, what is foregrounded is the historico-racial body schema that derives from the very “history of European expansionism” (Mills, 2014, p. 35), colonial conquest, and the “Euro-social decision to introduce racial categories into the world’ (Mills, 2014, p. 37).


The historico-racial body schema thus points towards the very different bodily orientations, or “starting points” (Ahmed, 2007, p.150) for bodies marked through whiteness and for those of color. Whiteness indicates a body that is extended by the spaces it inhabits, and where those spaces have already taken its shape (Ahmed, 2007, p.158).4 To be extended by spaces indicates that certain “physical objects, styles, capacities, aspirations, techniques, habits” (Ahmed, 2007, p. 154) are within reach. For example, the very act of the white, male student storming out of the classroom while Shaireen was giving her presentation was reflective of his white privilege, his, to re-appropriate Ngo’s words, settling into the spatiality of the classroom as a region of power; (Ngo, 2016, p. 800) as an “I can” leave and exhibit my displeasure without fear of repercussion or with the knowledge that if I am retaliated against I have the power to retaliate in turn (e.g., lodge a complaint to the dean).


In contrast, as Sara Ahmed argues, the body of color’s corporeal schema is structured through a disorientation of the body-that-is-not-at-home, which keeps certain physical objects, styles, capacities, aspirations, and techniques, out of reach. “Here, the body is not extended by the spaces one inhabits, but encounters explicit points of stress, pressure points and points of stoppage that restrict what one can do, bringing to the fore the background into which white bodies normally sink” (Sinha, 2018, p. 220). For example, in school, African-American students are disproportionately disciplined or referred for special education (Blanchett, 2006); in stores, shoppers of color are often followed by store owners or employees; while driving, blacks are disproportionately stopped by police; while walking down the street, hailing a cab, standing in elevators, sleeping in a common room at a university, sitting at a Starbucks, entering their own homes, barbecuing, going on a campus tour, or going through customs at the airport, black and brown bodies are often reacted to with fear, hostility, or suspicion, sometimes with devastating effect.(Goodnough, 2009; Herrerla, 2018; Levin, 2018; Soffen, 2016; Stevens, 2018; Wooston, 2018; Yancy, 2008). All the above are not fanciful imaginings or extreme occurrences, but reflective of the lived experience of how bodies of color are not extended by the spaces they inhabit.


Frank Margonis (2004) noted that human bodies enter into an unspoken social dynamic, relating to one another at a level of which we are not consciously aware (p. 46). The macro-level reality of the raced body’s debasement and abjection, its non-extension by spaces, and its navigation of spaces that have already taken the shape of bodies that have been extended by such spaces impacts the ethos through which students at predominantly white institutions may react (regardless of their professed intentions) to raced bodies of color. The de facto segregation of the neighborhoods within which many of our white students lived could also be seen to inform how they approached their understanding of issues of justice and equity. To think that such impacts do not exist is to subscribe to historical amnesia and a willful discarding of the effects that structural racism has on not only the psyche, but also the body schema itself of those who inhabit bodies marked as white.  


Accordingly, as Lewis highlights, the body can serve “as a site of the inscription [and re-iscription] of racialization” (2016, p. 10). It does so through the effortless recalling and reiteration of “responses that reside within the body schema” (Ngo, 2016, p. 854), and that takes place at a pre-cognitive, pre-psychological level (Lewis, 2016, p. 10): the repeated tensing of one’s muscles, the stiffening of the back, the hardening or narrowing of the eyes or expression, the flinching or recoil, “the moving away,” (Ngo, 2016, p. 854) even the solicitous going towards, are all actions through which one may relate to the other as threatening, to be feared, mistrusted, disdained, or even pitied. Such bodily action is “enacted with ease in response to the racialized other” (Ngo, 2016, p. 855) and points toward a relation with the racialized other as an over-determined body that is repeatedly re-positioned as such in the very moment of bodily gesture and visual perception. In other words, as Al-Saji notes, “in racializing perception, the receptivity of vision, its affective openness is closed down,” (2014, p. 140) such that “bodies are taken to correspond to only that which this vision sees” (Al-Saji, 2014, p. 139). And what this vision sees, as we have noted earlier, is informed by “the social-cultural horizons historically tied to modernity and colonial expansion in the West” (Al Saji, 2014, p. 139).  


Lewis thus succinctly sums up that what all the above means specifically for white bodies is that “the flow of the schema in relation to the world is a totally transparent, seemingly “natural” result of habituated privileges that exist below the level of mental monitoring” (2016, p.10). Habituated privileges signify two things: (1) the settling into the spatiality of something as a region of power and possibility in ways not accessible to or foreclosed from bodies of color, and (2) the foreclosing of the possibility of seeing the body of color in ways other than through the racializing habits deriving from one’s social and cultural horizons (e.g., seeing the black male body as threatening, the brown veiled woman as oppressed, the brown male as suspicious).


What is thus key to understand for the purposes of our paper is that the racializing body schema functions through habit, but nevertheless retains the possibility for responsibility and change due to the fact that habit contains the sense of both sedimentation and habituation, which must remain in productive tension with each other (Ngo, 2016, p. 850). One becomes habituated “only after a certain amount of practice, experience or repetition” (Ngo, 2016, p. 849). Habit as sedimentation denotes “repeated, routinized gestures enacting earlier performances of the same action” (Ngo, 2016, p. 849). As such, racializing perception points to the “sedimentation of racist practices into the body schema (Ngo, 2016, p. 862), where sedimentation “express[es] the past’s grounding or anchoring effect on our present and anticipatory bodies” (Ngo, 2016, p. 862). To be “anchored” or “grounded” implies a certain inertia or passivity, thus the question arises of how acquired habits retain the possibility for responsibility and change. Ngo locates such possibility through the sense of habit as habituation, which indicates a more general bodily orienting where one actively takes up residence in the spatiality of something; where there is a “reanimation of the past into the present” (Ngo, 2016, p. 863, italics ours), and where, following Merleau-Ponty, “habits are held rather than simply possessed” (Ngo, 2016, p. 864). Ngo points to the Latin root of sedimentation, “sedere,” which contains the sense of “holding a stance” (Ngo, 2016, p. 864), which in turn within the context of Chinese martial arts signifies “holding as active and as preparing us for action and movement” (Ngo, 2016, p. 864). Thus there is a sense of both activity and passivity linked to the notion of the habituated body.


What had not been addressed in any meaningful way through our teaching was precisely the habituated privileges of our students and the habituated racializing nature of our students’ resistances. Our attempts at engendering critical reflection and transformation had come up against the limit of bodily resistance that subtended any possible mental shifts. Our students’ “stubborn blind eye” could be seen to be fundamentally derived from the level of perception itself, not the level of representation, which would signify erroneous mental images that could be “fixed” by exposure to the “right” facts or change in beliefs. Thus, taking critical phenomenology’s insights into account, where might we be led pedagogically? Lewis (2016) and Al-Saji (2014) offer a promising pathway for thinking about the pedagogical possibilities for addressing habituated privileges and habituated racializing bodies. In order to unpack white privilege, Lewis pointed towards the need for an “existential breakdown of the white [body] schema itself and [its] implicit or tacit knowledge” (2016, p. 11), where what is called for is “a kind of induced double body schema wherein the certainty and holism of a ‘neutral’ and thus transparent body trips over itself and the schema butts up against its own privileges as an unfamiliar excess” (Lewis, 2016, p. 11).


In other words, our students’ ease of movement in the world, which occurred through the unimpeded integration of body and world, and the tacit knowledge to which it gave rise, needed to be experienced by them as inoperative in a way similar to the disorientation which, as we have noted, marks the body schema of the person of color. Such interrogation of the white body schema would call for pedagogical intervention that would be a going beyond cognitive conceptions of empathy or perspective taking, which often prove to be ineffectual in that they often remain within the purview of the self-same.5 The potential for change would thus be rooted, as Al-Saji notes, in the redrawing of the affective map of one’s body schema (2014, p. 161), made possible by the very interruption or breakdown of its usual unimpeded bodily comportments toward the situations at hand. Such a redrawing, as both Al -Saji and Lewis note, would occur only through sustained changes in the environment where “interactions with non-white bodies, their gestures, and their perceptual glances” (Lewis, 2016, p. 11) would offer pushback and resistance to their bodies’ pre-determinations and over-determinations; where the “uninhibited extension of the white schema into space” (Lewis, 2016, p. 11) is made visible to itself and rendered strange or problematic as it juts up against spaces and bodies that shake one’s “in syncness” with the environment (i.e., the usual way of talking, interacting, moving or feeling that has been naturalized); where the “force of attachment” (Al-Saji, 2014, p. 161) through an “effort of living with others” (Al-Saji, 2014, p. 160) reorients one’s perceptual and affective field (Al-Saji, 2014, p. 161).     


Conclusion: Revisiting Postmodern Concerns


The question remains, however, how does critical phenomenology’s discourse of habituated privilege and habituated racializing schema refrain from falling into pitfalls of the “language of conviction” as pointed to in the beginning of the paper? In other words, how might one answer the critique that the naming of white privilege itself falls under the rubric of a metanarrative that does violence to the very singularity of the white person, where the category of whiteness and the desire for the interrogation of the body schema to which it has given rise, serves to reify and reduce the wholeness and mystery of who a person may be to that category and its associated social-historical characteristics? The concern is that metanarratives can devolve into abstract overarching accounts that Eugene Gendlin and Czeslaw Milosz call “Zombie meanings—meanings that live in the word but no longer in the flesh” (Gendlin as quoted in Green & Gary, 2016, p. 54), and thus “can become dangerous to human existence” (Sidorkin, 1999, p. 146) since they inevitably operate through foreclosures and exclusions of different others to maintain the unity and stability of meaning and its ground. That is to say, metanarratives provide false epistemological and ontological security with recourse to fixed meanings that become deadened to lived experience and violently fit in or exclude those who don’t conform to those meanings.


One way to approach a response to the above concern is to recall Frantz Fanon’s (1967) call to be committed to living in the present and to the experiences of living in the world, in conjunction with Larry Green and Kevin Gary’s (2016) call for educators to be responsive to “emergent realities.” To begin with, the naming of white privilege is not a reference to a metanarrative in the sense of pointing to an ultimate ground with a settled meaning. As Nel I. Painter (2010) and Linda M. Alcoff (2014) have emphasized, whiteness is not an “essentialized identity or substantive ontological force,” (Sinha, 2018) but rather, is something that is in transition as evidenced by the fact that white dominance in contemporary society is being called into account instead of remaining naturalized (Alcoff, 2014, p. 261). The future meanings that whiteness may take on have not yet been determined. However, both theorists also emphasize that whiteness is marked by a “sociopolitical materiality that has affected how whites live their whiteness and feel its effects through modes of cognition, perception and economic advantage, in turn affecting the lived experience and identities of people of color” (Sinha, 2018, p. 223). Therefore white privilege through the terms of its sociopolitical materiality needs to be addressed, even as it is in transition. Such addressing can be seen to fall within the purview of what Green and Gary (2016) highlight as responding to emergent realities.


The notion of emergent realities point to the meanings that are generated out of our preconceptual experiencing (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 54). They flow out of “saturated phenomena” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 56), that is, that which “exceeds the intentionality that becomes aware of it” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 56, Merold Westphal quoted). It can’t be anticipated by the transcendental ego nor can one’s concept contain or comprehend it (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 56). Emergent realities thus are not “preferred interpretations” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 54) where we foist “forms on experience” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 54). Rather, as Green and Gary note, “If we look to our experience of our circumstances, rather than a philosophical narrative, we will find a ground, a stubborn reality, that does not yield to the dictates of our will. We will find an ‘otherness’ that challenges us to respond appropriately. This is not a case of ‘anything goes’ but rather a demand that our situation presents to us—a demand that only certain precise responses can meet” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 55). The naming of whiteness and white privilege is necessitated by the very experiences of bodies of color living in the world. Thus, while an emergent reality indicates the destabilization of any ultimate ground with a settled meaning, due to the contingency of all meanings, it does not divest one from the need to pay attention to the call to address the existing sociopolitical materiality that marks whiteness and white privilege. The focus on emergent realities retains the space for action deriving from a groundless “ground.”   


Moreover, as postmodernism also teaches us, while the risk of reification or violence can never be fully eradicated, it can nevertheless be mitigated. Green and Gary (2016) offer a promising pathway, to which we can only point here, to fill out why such mitigation may be the case pedagogically. For educators and students, cultivating a disposition of wonder may be precisely what allows them to remain open to the emergent in ways that they are addressed rather than in ways that they impose their “default meanings (religions, ideologies, paradigms)” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 59), where they allow themselves “to register their indeterminacy . . . their becoming” (Green & Gary, 2016, p. 59). In other words, for example, the disposition of wonder may be precisely what stems the foreclosure of the ability to acknowledge the very ways in which white body schemas and spaces in transition may affect the body schemas of people of color in ways differently than before. While a full accounting of wonder and its relation to emergent realities is not possible within the space of this one article, we encourage readers to see the other articles in this issue, all of which evoke, if not in so many words, the importance of a sense of wonder in education.


Finally, within the educational theory literature, not much has been written about what the need for the existential breakdown of the white body schema might indicate for practices undertaken within the classroom. Perhaps this is because this is a question larger than can be addressed solely within individual classrooms, especially those situated within predominantly white institutions. The possibility for the existential breakdown of the white body schema is predicated on sustained interaction with non-white others and the environmental shifts that require more than the being-with afforded by class sessions (be they a few class sessions or many) whose integration of diversity and being-with non-white others takes place mainly through readings, films and discussions (and perhaps interactions with faculty of color here and there). This is not to deny that there have been, and are ongoing, efforts in higher education to facilitate student interaction with unfamiliar communities, settings, and experiences.6 When done well, they can interrupt how students engage with the world. Along these lines, perhaps one avenue to explore might be the integration of field experiences in diverse settings within educational foundations courses themselves, where more direct, sustained exposure to and interaction with different others may at least open up the possibility for the destabilization of the white body schema and its affective attachments, which may be subsequently processed and reflected upon within the university classroom.


However, more broadly speaking, as educators situated within this particular historical moment, we also feel the full force of the need to align ourselves with those who advocate for structural and systemic shifts at the level of housing policy, (e.g., changes in zoning laws that restrict the building of multifamily housing in well off towns, preventing minority families from moving into such towns) and the de facto segregation of public schools resulting from zoning laws such as the above, as well as from inequitable bank lending practices that prevent minority access to neighborhoods with good school districts. Only larger structural shifts can allow for a more robust possibility of white bodies “tak[ing] up the task of living-with”(Al-Saji, 2014, p. 159) non-white bodies “through intimacy, affectivity, and co-existence”(Al-Saji, 2014, p. 161). Our very efficacy in the classroom depends on it. However, as Al-Saji has noted, this is not a call for forced integration at the expense of the needs or desires of racialized others. This is not a call for the onus of teaching others about racism to fall on the very shoulders of those who are racialized, but rather an acknowledgement that habituated racializing ways of being in the world and habituated privileges cannot be interrogated without the messy intricacies of the embodied interactions with different others.


Notes


1.

Such a sentiment can be seen to be prefigured by Jean Francois Lyotard’s (1984) exploration of the postmodern condition of knowledge.


2.

Such a hearkening back to positivistic-like tenets is often heard in current public discourse that attempts to fight the Trumpian reliance on “alternative facts” and politicization of truth through a call for greater media literacy, which is often circumscribed to “fact checking” or for a reversion to the sanctity of facts. See, for example Alia Wong’s (2018) article, “How history classes helped create a post-truth America.” In this article she recounts her conversation with James W. Loewen, who highlights the necessity of presenting history and social studies education through a truthful and wider lens, which refuses the conflation of empirical fact and opinion.


3.

It should be noted here that throughout the course of the paper, when not referencing scholarship, we will be referring to one another by our first names.


4.

See also Bryzzheva (2018) for a delineation of how spaces take on the construction of whiteness.


5.

See Megan Boler (1999) for delineation of the idea of the risks of empathy.


6.

See, for example, Carol Rodger’s (2006) article on the Putney Graduate School of Teacher Education. Another example is the Highlander Research and Education Center. It is a school/participatory research center that trains for social justice leadership and is heavily involved in efforts to engage students with diverse communities.  


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 4, 2020, p. 1-26
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23076, Date Accessed: 10/21/2021 7:49:43 PM

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About the Author
  • Shilpi Sinha
    Adelphi University
    E-mail Author
    SHILPI SINHA is Associate Professor of the Foundations of Education in Childhood Education and Program Director of Childhood Education. Her research has focused on conceptions and effectiveness of different forms of dialogue, philosophy of education, education for justice and equity and issues of race and racialization in higher education. She received her M. Phil and PhD at Columbia University in Philosophy. In 2016, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University. Most recently she co-authored a special issue in the Studies in Philosophy and Education Journal, titled, “Deconstructing Privilege in the Classroom: Teaching as a Racialized Pedagogy.” She also wrote an article for that issue, titled “The Racialized Body of the Educator and the Ethic of Hospitality: The Potential for Social Justice Education Re-visited.”
  • Shaireen Rasheed
    Long Island University
    E-mail Author
    SHAIREEN RASHEED, PhD is a professor of Philosophical Foundations and Diversity/Social Justice in the College of Education at Long Island University. She has been a Fulbright visiting professor at the University of Salzburg. For the 2019-2020 year she is a visiting scholar in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University. She was also visiting fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, New York University and the Columbia Law School. Her current research is due for publication in a monograph. Most recently she co-authored a special issue in the Studies in Philosophy and Education Journal, “Deconstructing Privilege in the Classroom: Teaching as a Racialized Pedagogy.” She writes and lectures on issues of identity, race, intersectionality, migration, Islamophobia and populism.​
 
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