From Interior to Dialogue and Deconstruction: Dismantling Ideologies of Whiteness with Stories

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2017-05-08
Authors
Meister, Tara
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Abstract

A reflexive and conceptual piece, I address the tension around white people and researchers utilizing stories of people of color for social justice, instead maintaining that white researchers can deconstruct their own whiteness upholding white supremacy through reflexive, race-centered stories. Because of white epistemological disadvantages (Alcoff, 2007) and the shallow depth of experiences required to see and dismantle oppression (Leonardo & Porter, 2010), white people must engage differently in work towards justice, focusing on the way white supremacy operates institutionally and individually. While painful, white people need to grapple with the interior work of reflexivity to confront individual histories and ideologies influenced by whiteness (Matias, 2016), as well as internal contradictions around racial constructions (Newton, 2002). Utilizing Jones (2000) levels of racism--personally mediated, institutional, and internalized--I explicate a process to engage with stories reflexively and unpack whiteness ideologies for justice-oriented action. I model the process with some of my own reflexive stories intended to support my everyday work for social justice.

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