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Beyond guilt, fear and alienation: Confronting 'Whiteness' with teacher education students

Aveling, N. (2004) Beyond guilt, fear and alienation: Confronting 'Whiteness' with teacher education students. The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and nations, 4 . pp. 951-958.

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It is my contention that notions of privilege as well as issues of oppression must be explored if we take the idea of antiracism education seriously. In other words, with my students—most of whom are ‘white’—I endeavour to invert the gaze and to explore the profound social consequences that the construction of whiteness holds for Indigenous peoples and peoples of colour. However, given that whiteness is more than about skin colour and is, moreover, socially, politically and culturally located, how does whiteness manifest itself within different cultural contexts? What are the differences? Where are the similarities? What do they mean? What are the implications for pedagogy? These questions and others have concerned me for some time and form the basis of on-going research with various groups of Teacher Education students, both in Australia and Germany. My findings within these contexts indicate that education has a crucial role to play in anti-racism education but that it is not enough to simply discuss white race privilege and hope for the best. In fact, based on my research I would suggest that such an approach can be counter-productive and lead to ‘guilt, fear and alienation’. As educators what we must be mindful of is to provide hope and critique in equal measure.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Common Ground Publishing
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