Critical "Whiteness" in Education

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Theoretical Framework of the Study
As seen in the previous literature, empirical research in the last twenty years reveals the positive student outcomes associated to service-learning. However, as Susan Jones (2002) argues, student’s ability to actively participate in all aspects of their service-learning experience depends on “the intersection of the student’s own background. . . , developmental readiness for such a learning experience, and the privileging conditions that put a college student in a community service organization as a volunteer in the first place” (p. 13). Accordingly, different complexities may emerge when students “engage with ill structured, complex social issues present in the community service settings typically
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Frankenberg (1993) describes Whiteness as multidimensional: “First, whiteness is a location of structural advantage, of race privilege. Second, it is a ‘standpoint’ and place from which white people look at ourselves, at others, and at society. Third, ‘whiteness’ refers to a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed”(p. 1). Although Whiteness has intangible systems of oppression, inequality, and unearned advantage that are not necessary seen, heard, or felt; nonetheless, they reproduce and support the idea of White as the ultimate form of racial identity. Butin (2005) examines the dynamics of Whiteness, and the extent to which student resistance “is conceptualized as occurring due to dominant students’ rejection of the exposure and analysis of these same hidden and/or explicit social, cultural, and academic structures and practices of the school that privilege and sustains White, middle-class norms”(p. 117). As such, addressing the dynamics of social problems through readings, classroom discussions, and community services visits may confront students with their conditions of privilege, as well as with new epistemologies that do not necessary resonate with students’ previous knowledge of the world; therefore, students may feel uncomfortable, uneasy and unwilling to discuss social issues.
Critical whiteness studies
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