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Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom

Lea, Virginia / Helfand, Judy (eds.)

Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom

Fourth Printing

Series: Counterpoints - Volume 273

Year of Publication: 2006

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2004, 2005, 2006. X, 290 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-7068-9 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.420 kg, 0.926 lbs

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Book synopsis

As educators, how do we challenge and interrupt the social construction of whiteness in ourselves, in the classroom, in schools, and in the wider society? Coming from diverse backgrounds, the contributors in this volume draw on their own well-examined experiences of race, racism, and whiteness in developing effective antiracist pedagogies and classroom activities that interrupt and contest whiteness. They have explored their own lives from the selective position of their own memories and have traced the ways in which their assumptions – which they use to mediate and interpret the world around them – have been constituted by public ideological forces. They have collaborated with others in building alternative pedagogies and support systems, enabling them to teach, and at the same time, reflect on the assumptions behind and the effects of their teaching. The result is the work collected here.


Contents: Judy Helfand/Virginia Lea: Introduction: Parallel Journeys to Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom – Leny Mendoza Strobel: Teaching about Whiteness When You’re Not White: A Filipina Educator’s Experience – P. J. Hallam: Crossing Cultural Borders through Authentic Assessment of Classroom Discourse: A Freirean Approach – Eileen O’Brien: «I Could Hear You If You Would Just Calm Down»: Challenging Eurocentric Classroom Norms Through Passionate Discussions of Racial Oppression – Elena Featherston/Jean Ishibashi: Oreos and Bananas: Conversations on Whiteness – Laurie B. Lippin: Making Whiteness Visible in the Classroom – Sherry Marx: Exploring and Challenging Whiteness and White Racism with White Preservice Teachers – Kelly E. Maxwell: Deconstructing Whiteness: Discovering the Water – Rosemary Christensen: Teaching within the Circle: Methods for an American Indian Teaching and Learning Style, a Tribal Paradigm – Pauline E. Bullen: Naming Race and Racism as a Problem in Schools – Gary Lemons: When White Students Write About Being White: Challenging Whiteness in a Black Feminist Classroom – Grace Mathieson: Reconceptualizing Our Classroom Practice: Notes from an Antiracist Educator – Carlos Aceves: The Xinachtli Project: Transforming Whiteness through Mythic Pedagogy – Judy Helfand/Virginia Lea: Afterword: Taking It into the Classroom.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Virginia Lea is a scholar activist with a Ph.D. in social and cultural studies in education from the University of California Berkeley. She teaches critical multicultural, antiracist pedagogy, and social studies education in the School of Education at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California. She coordinates Project Quest, an alternative teacher recruitment and preparation program in Vallejo, California, and she is also the President and Executive Director of the Educultural Foundation, a California educational nonprofit organization.
Judy Helfand is a community educator and antiracist activist with an M.A. in American studies and cultural studies from Antioch University McGregor School in Yellow Springs, OH. She teaches in the Humanities Department at Santa Rosa Junior College in California and is director of IMPACT Training (a diversity training and consulting business.) Her previous publications include Understanding Whiteness/Unraveling Racism: Tools for the Journey.


«With complexity and caution, this collection of essays illustrates a range of personal, pedagogical, and political changes made possible when critically addressing White privilege in the classroom. Virginia Lea, Judy Helfand, and the contributors to this volume have produced a helpful and long overdue insightful resource, for teaching against racial injustice.» (Kevin K. Kumashiro, Center for Anti-Oppressive Education, Author of ‘Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice’)
«‘Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom’ is a stimulating and thought provoking set of essays by a diverse group of educators. The book focuses on how we can actively transform perspectives on whiteness that result in inequities and injustices in ourselves, in our curriculum, in our pedagogy, and, ultimately, in U. S. society and across the globe.» (Ann Berlak and Sekani Moyenda, Co-authors of ‘Taking it personally: Racism in classrooms from Kindergarten to College’)


Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. Vol. 273
General Editors: Joe L. Kincheloe and Shirley R. Steinberg