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White Privilege and the Colonial Wound: Some Pedagogical Concerns

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Presentation at 2017 EASA - 6th of Sept 2017, Granger Bay

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White Privilege and the Colonial Wound: Some Pedagogical Concerns

  1. 1. White Privilege and the Colonial Wound: Some Pedagogical Concerns Dr. Kristian D. Stewart, University of Michigan-Dearborn Dr. Daniela Gachago, Cape Peninsula Universityof Technology
  2. 2. Background
  3. 3. Statement of the Problem 1. To what extent might we, as two privileged White women, reinforce a “colonial wound” (Mignolo, 2009, p.3) unintendedly on students of colour by for example privileging dominant stories our students share (like our own), or by reinforcing stereotypes when students of color are portrayed as “other” in classroom spaces? 2. How might we perpetuate violence (silent and symbolic) on our students when trying to create safe classroom spaces that usually protect Whiteness/White Fragility?
  4. 4. Colonial wound - definition “The de-colonial path has one thing in common: the colonial wound, the fact that regions and people around the world have been classified as underdeveloped economically and mentally” (Mignolo, 2009, p.3).
  5. 5. Theoretical Frame(s) ● Bourdieu, (1980/1999) - silent violence. ● Lefebvre, (1991)- spatial theory. ● Naidoo, (2016) - “inside and outside heritage,” equate to classroom practice? ● Leonardo and Porter, (2010)-pedagogy of disruption; protecting Whiteness is symbolic violence. ● Mazzei, (2008) - “racially-inscribed silences,” White teachers inability to see themselves as “Other.”
  6. 6. Examples 1.Privilege Walk - should we allow (white) students to leave the classroom? 2.Digital storytelling - how do we deal with (white) silence in response to black stories?
  7. 7. What we know...
  8. 8. Recognizing Habits of Mind: Toward an ethics of attentiveness ● Noting our actions (and non-actions) can further disenfranchisement (Bourdieu, 1980/1999) & become an act of violence against students of color. ● Acknowledging our own biases/blind spots - “white people setting up white spaces”- white privilege as hidden curriculum (Mazzei, 2008). ● White allyship - starting from a position of not-knowing and humility. “White people cannot be left alone” ● ‘Stepping back’ in order to make space for the other / recognising the needs of others (Sevenhuijsen, 2002)
  9. 9. (Re)creating Habits of Mind: An ethics of responsiveness ● Flipping curriculum: Engagement across difference as the curriculum, i.e. using silence as critical teaching moment, integrating critical texts and (counter) experiences/narratives as core curriculum. ● Student buy in: co-design of curriculum with students - acknowledging and challenging power dynamics. ● Respect for students’ home languages, cultures, and experiences--- as a right. ● Challenge safety and understanding that safety means different things for different people. ● Collaborative / cross-racial partnerships (internal/external).
  10. 10. Questions? Kristi (kdstew@umich.edu) Daniela (gachagod@cput.ac.za)
  11. 11. “Since life is our most precious gift, let us be certain that it is dedicated to the liberation of the human mind and spirit… beginning with our own.” Maya Angelou
  12. 12. References Boler, M. & Zembylas, M. (2003) Discomforting truths: the emotional terrain of understanding differences. In Trifonas, P.(ed) Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Justice. New York: Routledge, 116-139. Bourdieu, P. (1999). The production and reproduction of legitimate language. In John B. Thompson (Ed.), Language and symbolic power (pp. 43-65). (Gino Raymond & Matthew Adamson, Trans.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press. (Original work published 1980). DiAngelo, Robin. 2011. “White Fragility.” International Journal of Critical Pedagogy 3 (3): 54–70. Gachago, D., Ivala, E., Condy, J., & Chigona, A. (2013). Journeys across difference: Preservice teacher education students’ perceptions of a pedagogy of discomfort in a digital storytelling project in South Africa. Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, 1(1), 22– 52. doi:10.14426/cristal.v1i1.4 Gachago, D., Condy, J., Ivala, E., & Chigona, A. (2014). All stories bring hope because stories bring awareness: Students’ perceptions of digital storytelling for social justice education. South African Journal of Education, 34(4). Hurst, E. (2016) Navigating language: strategies, transitions, and the ‘colonial wound’ in South African education, Language and Education, 30:3, 219-234, DOI: Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space (Donald Nicholson-Smith, Trans.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing. (Original work published in 1974). Leonardo, Z. & Porter, R. K.(2010) 'Pedagogy of fear: toward a Fanonian theory of 'safety' in race dialogue', Race Ethnicity and Education, 13: 2, 139 — 157 To doi: 10.1080/13613324.2010.482898Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. 2015. “Outline of Ten Theses on Coloniality and Decoloniality.
  13. 13. References, cont. Mazzei, L.A. (2008). Silence speaks: Whiteness revealed in the absence of voice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(5), 1125–1136. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2007.02.00 McIntosh, Peggy. 1992. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” In Multiculturalism, edited by Anna May Filor, 30–36. New York: New York State Council of Educational Associations. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED355141.pdf#page=43. Mignolo, W. (2009). Epistemic disobedience, independent thought and de-colonial freedom. Theory, Culture, and Society, 26(7-8), 1-23. Retrieved from http://waltermignolo.com/wp- content/uploads/2013/03/epistemicdisobedience-2.pdf Stewart, K. (2017). Classrooms as ‘safe houses’? The ethical and emotional implications of digital storytelling in a university writing classroom. Critical studies in teaching and learning., 5(1), 85-102. doi https://doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v5i1.102 Stewart, K., & Gachago, D. (2016). Being human today: A digital storytelling pedagogy for transcontinental border crossing. British Journal of Educational Technology 47(3):528-542. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12450 Stewart, K. & Ivala, E. (2017). Silence, Voice, and “Other Languages”: Digital storytelling as a site of resistance and restoration in a South African teacher education classroom. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12540