Disrupting an Epistemology of White Ignorance through writing a Racial Autobiography
Keywords:white ignorance, co-conspirator, racial contract, white supremacy, race, whiteness
White students who enter university having few experiences engaging with race and white supremacy are likely limited in their ability to perceive and understand structural white ignorance and racial bias towards Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). As a result, these students and their professors tend to gloss over the insidious ways that hegemonic whiteness is upheld within the university setting. Such failure to critically examine structural whiteness misses opportunities to confront an epistemology of white ignorance, the Racial Contract, and their connection to sustained racial domination. Throughout this article, we argue that students can work towards identifying and disrupting white ignorance and hegemonic whiteness within the university setting by critically reflecting upon their own experiences of race and racism through writing a racial autobiography. We use this assignment to illustrate what it might mean for students to ‘become’ co-conspirators within and beyond the university classroom.
Copyright (c) 2023 Jennifer de Saxe, Alex Ker
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with Critical Education agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).