Start Date

3-3-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

3-3-2017 10:50 AM

Description

White fragility, a side effect stemming from white privilege, has plagued the classrooms of higher education and can be viewed as a hindrance to the learning opportunities students can have when it comes to issues of racism. According to Robin DiAngelo (2011), white fragility is, “The insulated environment of racial protection [that] builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress.” This can be manifested in various ways in the classroom, e.g. silence, dismissal of feelings, triggering, and unfortunately, even tears. There is little published literature around white fragility and the way it pervades classroom dynamics. We argue there should be more study done around this issue in order to create a more beneficial atmosphere for student of color development and empowerment, and to build stronger ally-ship opportunities with white students. This study will survey classroom dynamics in hopes of bringing about development of white colleagues’ understanding of their privilege and utilizing it to combat fragility and further marginalization of their peers of color.

Presenter Information

Rachael Blansett, Graduate Student, School of Education

Chelsea Smith, Graduate Student, School of Education

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Mar 3rd, 10:00 AM Mar 3rd, 10:50 AM

White Tears in the Classroom

White fragility, a side effect stemming from white privilege, has plagued the classrooms of higher education and can be viewed as a hindrance to the learning opportunities students can have when it comes to issues of racism. According to Robin DiAngelo (2011), white fragility is, “The insulated environment of racial protection [that] builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress.” This can be manifested in various ways in the classroom, e.g. silence, dismissal of feelings, triggering, and unfortunately, even tears. There is little published literature around white fragility and the way it pervades classroom dynamics. We argue there should be more study done around this issue in order to create a more beneficial atmosphere for student of color development and empowerment, and to build stronger ally-ship opportunities with white students. This study will survey classroom dynamics in hopes of bringing about development of white colleagues’ understanding of their privilege and utilizing it to combat fragility and further marginalization of their peers of color.