Race is widely acknowledged as one of humankind’s most pernicious and enduring myths, and its contemporary ideological doppelganger – ethnicity – presents as arguably the single most divisive, oppressive and dangerous axis of identity at work in the world today. Attempts to develop more racially/ethnically harmonious communities have typically looked to education programs, usually conducted through the formal mechanisms of schooling, as a primary vehicle for the development of greater understanding and “naturalizing” of difference. Focusing almost exclusively on the effects of racism and marginalization on the typically located victims of such oppression, these programs have largely ignored the importance of turning the focus of attention on to those positioned as beneficiaries of racism. That such programs have been largely unsuccessful in any broad societal sense has led to the exploration of alternative approaches to developing racial and ethnic awareness.
This paper derives from a long-term project that has been anchored by two key political imperatives: making whiteness visible and effecting conscientization through autoethnographic work. Research on this project with pre-service teachers, most of it funded over several years, and more recently with middle (secondary) school students has provided valuable insights into more effective possibilities for the development of anti-racist pedagogies and for the decentring of the WWW (White Western Ways) that the authors see as crucial to a genuine move towards ethnic harmony.
The first part of this paper exposes and justifies the ideological and procedural underpinnings of the program design and operation, and the second section reports on the outcomes to date. The authors conclude with a set of implications and possibilities for further, future activity.
|Keywords:||Race, Racism, Anti-racist Education, Ethnicity, Autoethnography, Conscientization, Whiteness, White Ethnicity, White Racial Identity|
Associate Professor, Centre for Research in Transformative Pedagogies, Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, TOOWOOMBA, Queensland, Australia
Lecturer, Cultural Studies and Social Theory, Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
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