Equity & Access Teacher Inquiry

Whiteness Studies, a Short Bibliography

The field of critical whiteness studies recognizes the need to identify “white” as a racialized category. Those studying whiteness recognize the need to challenge whiteness as a powerful symbol of privilege. Peggy McIntosh in her widely circulated essay, “White Privilege, Male Privilege,” provides a definition: white privilege is like an invisible package of unearned assets that one can count on cashing in each day but about which one was meant to remain oblivious. These privileges are conferred not because they have been earned but merely on the basis of one’s skin color.

As a white woman, McIntosh then made a list of the personal privileges that accrue to her without having to ask or earn them. She identifies these privileges as unearned advantage and conferred dominance. She writes, “I did not see myself as racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.”

Ruth Frankenberg in White Women, Race Matters, arrives at a conclusion similar to that of McIntosh: social structures and institutions are racialized and those who engage in antiracist activism must look at their own whiteness from the perspective of having been socialized and constructed by racial ideology.

Many in critical whiteness educational work realize the ways in which white norms have been institutionalized as educational norms. Whiteness, embodied and institutionalized, has a way of suffocating and diverting attempts to create more egalitarian, socially just cultural, socioeconomic, and political arrangements. The goal of whiteness studies in education is to engage in antiracist teaching and develop more effective activities to interrupt and contest the dominance of whiteness. The work is both personal and pedagogical.

This bibliography is not exhaustive, but lists some key texts for those wishing to know more about the antiracist agenda of whiteness studies for the purpose of transforming education.


Academic Resources

Derman-Sparks, Louise, and Carol Brunson Phillips. 1997. Teaching/Learning Anti-Racism: A Developmental Approach. New York: Teachers College Press.

Fine, Michelle, Rosemarie A. Roberts, Maria Elena Torre, et al. 2004. Echoes of Brown: Youth Documenting and Performing the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Fox, Helen. 2001. “When Race Breaks Out”: Conversations about Race and Racism in College Classrooms. New York: Peter Lang.

Frankenburg, Ruth. 1993. The Social Construction of Whiteness: White Women, Race Matters. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Grande, Sandy. 2004. Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

hooks, bell. 1992. Black Looks: Race and Representation. Boston: South End Press.

_________. 1994. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.

_________. 2003. Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. New York: Routledge.

Howard, Gary R. 1999. We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multi-racial Schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Jackson, Matthew. 2006. “The Enthymematic Hegemony of Whiteness: The Enthymeme as Antiracist Rhetorical Strategy.” JAC. 26 (3-4): 601–641.

Kivel, Paul. 1996. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

Lee, Virginia, and Judy Helfand, eds. 2005. Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom. New York: Peter Lang.

McCarthy, Cameron, and Warren Crichlow, eds. 1993. Race Identity and Representation in Education. New York: Routledge.

McIntosh, Peggy. 1988. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.

McIntyre, Alice. 1997. Making Meaning of Whiteness: Exploring Racial Identity with White Teachers. Albany, NY: State University of New York.

Miller, Keith D. 2004. “Plymouth Rock Landed on Us: Malcolm X’s Whiteness Theory as a Basis for Alternative Literacy.” College Composition and Communication 56 (2): 199–222.

Morrison, Toni. 1992. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. New York: Vintage Books.

Prendergast, Catherine. 2003. Literacy and Racial Justice: The Politics of Learning after Brown v. Board of Education. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Ratcliffe, Krista. 2005. Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

____________. 2007. “In Search of the Unstated: The Enthymeme and/of Whiteness.” JAC. 27 (1-2): 275–291.

Rothenberg, Paula S., ed. 2002. White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism. New York: Worth.

___________. 2007. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States. Seventh Edition. New York: Worth.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. 1999. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic.

Trainor, Jennifer Seibel. 2002. “Critical Pedagogy’s ‘Other’: Constructions of Whiteness in Education for Social Change.” College Composition and Communication. 53 (4): 631–650.

West, Cornel. 1994. Race Matters. New York: Vintage.

Williams, Patricia J. 1991. The Alchemy of Race and Rights. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Classroom Resources:

Bomer, Katherine, and Randy Bomer. 2001. For a Better World: Reading and Writing for Social Action. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Christensen, Linda. 2000. Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.

National Writing Project. 2006. Writing for a Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action. Ed. K. Berdan, I. Boulton, E. Eidman-Aadahl, J. Fleming, I. Rogers, A. Solomon. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Okazawa-Rey, Margo, Enid Lee, and Deborah Menkart, eds. 2007. Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-racist Multicultural Education and Staff Development.

Rethinking Schools Publications: 1001 East Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212. www.rethinkingschools.org. All publications, and specifically the following:

Bigelow, Bill. The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration.

_________. Rethinking Our Classroom: Teaching for Equity and Justice, vols. 1 and 2.

Bigelow, Bill, and Bob Peterson, eds. Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World.

Bigelow, Bill, and Bob Peterson, eds. Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years.

Singer, Jessica. 2006. Stirring Up Justice: Writing and Reading to Save the World. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Teaching Tolerance; A Web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. www.tolerance.org

Teaching for Change. http://www.teachingforchange.org