This presentation was recorded at the 2014 Race & Pedagogy National Conference held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in the fall of 2014.
Heather Bruce, Professor, University of Montana
Robin DiAngelo, Associate Professor, Westfield State University
Gyda Swaney (Salish), Associate Professor, University of Montana
Amie Thurber, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, Vanderbilt University
How can educators working on predominantly white campuses transform white students’ resistance to the critical examination of racial dominance? Five scholar-activists from diverse social locations and academic disciplines shared the pedagogical approaches they use to operationalize ten core-tenets of anti-racist education. These tenants included the definition of racism as an institutionalized multi-layered, multi-leveled system that distributes unequal power and resources between white people and people of color (as socially identified), and disproportionately benefits whites. The panelists recognized that the racial status quo is comfortable for most whites (and therefore, anything that maintains white comfort is suspect). Further, they understood that resistance is a predicable reaction to antiracist education which must be explicitly and strategically addressed. Their objective was to both reinforce key best practices while affirming the wide range of ways these are accomplished given educators’ distinct positionality and intersections of identity and institutional status. Drawing on experience within K-12, higher education and community settings, this session provides a call to action for educators to critically engage white students’ resistance. This session was closed by inviting participants’ discussion of other possibilities for transforming resistance in the classroom.