Abstract 6, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2016

Divergent Views of Race: Examining Whiteness in the U.S. History Classroom

Christopher C. Martell

Boston University

In this study, a teacher-researcher examined his students’ conceptions of Whiteness within U.S. history courses at an ethnically and economically diverse urban high school.  Using critical race theory as the lens, this mixed method study found most students could explain the role of race in history.  Students of color were more likely to express racism is common in the current day, while White students were more likely to express racism as uncommon.  Whites were more likely to express racism as on a dramatic decline or the result of a few individuals.  This study highlights the positive impact a race-conscious social studies classroom can have on all students.  It also shows the many barriers teachers face in helping White students understand their roles in a system privileging them because of their skin color.

Key words: U.S. history, Whiteness, critical race theory, multicultural education, secondary education, teacher research, practitioner research

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