Academic journal article Language Arts

Making Meaning of Whiteness: Exploring Racial Identity with White Teachers

Academic journal article Language Arts

Making Meaning of Whiteness: Exploring Racial Identity with White Teachers

Article excerpt

Making Meaning of Whiteness: Exploring Racial Identity with White Teachers by Alice McIntyre, SUNY Press, 1997, 208 pp., ISBN 978-0-7914-3496-3

The adage "the more we change, the more we remain the same" is appropriate to describe the current state of affairs regarding racism in the United States. As Sleeter (1977) stated almost four decades ago, the era of the post-civil rights movement witnessed "the turning back of the clock as white people increasingly believe that not only was racism remedied during the 1960s and 1970s, but also that people of color now have systematic advantages over whites" (p. ix). McIntyre's book Making Meaning of Whiteness becomes a classic worth reading or re-reading to refresh our memory and acknowledge how much we have moved forward as well as how much we have remained the same.

Deconstructing privileges and critiquing roles as oppressors is not a common practice in American society. The normalization of Whiteness, its ways of being, as well as the perpetuation of what McIntyre calls "white-as-victim-syndrome" (p. 52)-which continues to be absorbed by Whites, thus reproducing a culture of racism- are central themes in the book. McIntyre offers food for thought as we explore the different ways in which our societies construct, reconstruct, and perpetuate Whiteness as the norm. She also brings attention to the use of White talk-the kind of talk White people use to insulate them from examining the ways in which we, individually as well as collectively, contribute to the perpetuation of racism. …

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