What white educators can do

“White on White: Exploring White Racial Identity, Privilege, and Racism,” Elizabeth Denevi, Independent School 63 no4 78-82, 84-7 Summer 2004.

* Explore your own whiteness; become firmly rooted and aware of your own ethnic identity; think about what it means to be white in your school.
* See yourself as diverse; make sure that “multicultural” is not synonymous with “other than white.”
* Distinguish between individual and group identity.
* Understand the social, political, and historical role of teaching:
* We will teach the way we were taught unless we learn another way.
* Teachers are not neutral; teaching strategies and methods are not objective.
* We all speak from a particular standpoint based on our experiences.
* There is no essential, observable single truth; rather, there are multiple truths.
* Everything is not relative, but rather we recognize that cognition, the way we think and learn, is dependent upon experience and context.
* Understand and implement multicultural teaching strategies; design a curriculum that is explicitly anti-racist; be committed to raising issues of identity development in my classroom.
* Learn the distinction between speaking for someone and speaking with someone; be committed to dialogue, as opposed to discussion, when appropriate.
* Recognize the difference between intentions and outcomes. As Ellis Cose writes in The Rage of the Privileged Class (1993), schools are full of people “who, without intending to, create racial hurdles or hostility, manage to create a fair amount of both. That they cannot see what they have done is due partly to the fact that they meant no harm and partly to a disinclination to examine whether the assumptions they hold dear are in accord with reality.”
* Practice “distinguishing” behavior: interrupting prejudice and/or racism, advocating for social justice, being an ally, using your privilege to dismantle systems of oppression.

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