The White Savior Industrial Complex: A Cultural Studies Analysis of a Teacher Educator, Savior Film, and Future Teachers
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This paper seeks to report the findings of a cultural studies project conducted in an upperclassman, undergraduate, teacher preparation course. With this paper, I explore the implications of a white savior mentality through the lens of three different, yet over-lapping, personal and social media: my own story as a beginning, white teacher in racially diverse school settings; popular texts that romanticize white teachers who come in to “save the day”; and the experiences of future teachers with whom I have worked to interrogate a White Savior Industrial Complex (WSIC). With this paper, then, I work to investigate the social institutions that animate the WSIC, which I position as a detrimental extension of a superhero teacher that perpetuates inequalities in schools if left unexamined. More specifically, to combat the structures of inequality that exist in our schools, I argue for critical race theory and critical whiteness studies courses as a potential space for white teachers to dialogue and come to terms with their understandings of white supremacy.