Graduation Year

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

William Black

Co-Major Professor

Leonard Burrello

Keywords

anti-racism, Critical Race Theory, Critical Whiteness, educational leadership, racial identity development, White Privilege

Abstract

Despite exposure of educational disparities for students of color, as well as the notion that educational training rarely discusses race and racism, there continues to be a lack of discourse on race, racism, and anti-racism in educational leadership. Subsequently, it is important to challenge deficit thinking and encourage further examination of the deeply-rooted foundation of oppression. The study explored personal narratives of white educational leaders who oppose racial inequity to heighten awareness about conceptualizations of race, racism, and anti-racism. The research involved interviewing educational leaders in three groups: 1) aspiring, 2) currently-practicing, and 3) recently-retired. Eight participants were selected to engage in two semi-structured interviews about their experiences aligned with the following research questions: 1) How do white educational leaders frame the impact of race and racism? and 2) How do white educational leaders describe their perceptions and experiences recognizing, confronting, and dialoguing with others about race and racism? The findings revealed commonalties about the subtle nature of racism, as well as how to confront racism through thoughts and actions. While participants considered dialogue beneficial in their own awareness of race and racism, the lack of venues to dialogue were emphasized. The findings suggest implications for further contextualizing negotiations of race-related tensions and framing the impact of race and racism, particularly in relation to creating purposeful spaces and relationships to encourage such dialogue. Additionally, interpretation of the findings adds insight to further conceptualizing racial identity models and anti-racism.