Deanna M. Blackwell, "Sidelines and separate spaces: making education anti‐racist for students of color”
Written by a Black graduate student, this article critiques anti-racist classrooms that nevertheless privilege white perspectives and burden, rather than empower, students of color. Blackwell first offers a brief summary of the theories and practices that prioritize a critical examination of whiteness. She then proceeds to outline how these approaches marginalize students of color by placing them in the positions of cultural expert, teacher’s aide, or witness. Next, Blackwell appeals to black feminist approaches and the particular technique of dividing classrooms into racially separate spaces. This practice takes the burden off of students of color, enabling them to discuss their own anti-racist interests, concerns, needs, etc. It also turns racially subjugated perspectives into an epistemic standpoint, or what bell hooks calls “a central location for the production of a counter-hegemonic discourse.” Finally, it requires the teacher to bear the primary responsibility of guiding white students into more socially conscious and responsible behavior.
This article would be especially valuable for anti-racist pedagogues who remain dissatisfied with critical white pedagogy and want to learn more about how anti-racist pedagogy can benefit and empower students of color. Since the author also discusses issues of race in the context of graduate studies, it could be helpful for masters and doctorate students looking for ways to navigate and improve anti-racist pedagogy, as well as research practices.
(Annotation by Lacey Schauwecker)