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EEP442 WD Lecture 8

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EEP442 WD Lecture 8

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EEP442 WD Lecture 8

  1. 1. EEP442 EEP418 Lecture 8 Racial Politics and Cultural Diversity
  2. 2. Today’s Lecture • Terminology • Distinguishing between race and ethnicity • A brief of history of race in Australia • Racism and institutionalised racism • Critical Race Theory (CRT) and White Privilege • How race and ethnicity plays out in schools “A great many people think they are thinking when they are arranging their prejudices” (William James, 1842-1910)
  3. 3. Terminology Othering: Determining the membership or our own social groups, and its boundaries, by deciding who we are not. Othering is about deciding who is in and who is out and why. Ethnocentrism: Viewing others from our own cultural perspective, with an implied sense of cultural superiority based on an inability to understand or accept the practices and beliefs of other cultures. Prejudice: A hostile attitude towards a person from another group based solely upon their membership of that group. Stereotyping: When a group becomes characterised without regard for individual difference Scapegoating: A group blamed for all problems. This is associated with both stereotyping and victim-blaming. The victims of the system are blamed for the problems within it. Discrimination: When members of particular groups are denied equal treatment, based solely on their membership of that group.
  4. 4. Race and Ethnicity Race: A term without scientific basis that uses skin colour and facial features to describe what are alleged to be biologically distinct groups of humans. Race is actually a social construction used to categorise groups of people and sometimes implies assumed (and unproven) intellectual superiority or inferiority. • Race as a social construct • Race as a discursive system • Race as relational Ethnicity: While often used as a synonym for race, it is built around an entirely different logic. There are no necessary biological components to ethnicity as there are with race. Ethnic classification is based on social factors such as nationality, culture, religion, and language
  5. 5. Australia and Race (A brief history) • In Australia, there is arguably a long historical legacy of racism, evident since colonisation, that underpins racial and ethnic discrimination today. • We need to acknowledge the way that ‘whiteness’ functions throughout Australia’s colonialist history as a signifier of social worth and how ‘race’ and ‘whiteness’ have played an ongoing role in the politics of contemporary Australia • The legacy of racial violence, social exclusion and structural disadvantage in Australia is extensive and is evidenced by: – Massacres of Indigenous people during colonisation – The genocide of Aboriginal Tasmanians – The ‘White Australia’ policy – introduced in 1901 as the first act of parliament – The ‘Stolen Generation’ of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families and communities – The large number of deaths in custody and imprisonment of Aboriginal people – Mandatory detention of boat people since 1989
  6. 6. Racism and Government Policy Colonial Australia • Having British heritage was considered a measure of social merit • Social merit (to a degree) could also be earned via conformity to the dominant social group (the ‘white’ British) in custom, habits and manners White Australia • Whiteness became enshrined as a political and social ideal when the ‘White Australia’ policy was introduced • Immigration was restricted to people of certain countries (mainly Europe) and largely excluding non-Europeans – with a dominant belief at the time that only Europeans could adequately understand the concept of democracy and that keeping Australian society ‘racially pure’ would best protect its democratic ideals • This policy stayed in place until 1966 when Australia signed the United Nations Convention to eliminate racial discrimination however many scholars argue that it has continued in the immigration detention policies that have continued with relation to asylum seekers and refugees • Multicultural Australia • During the Whitlam era, and later under the Fraser government ,there was increased attention towards multiculturalism and efforts to ensure that migrants had adequate legal rights and services in making the transition to Australian life • During the 1980’s multiculturalism was the target of funding cuts under the Hawke government cutting funding to ESL and other language programs in schools. This resulted in considerable public protest which resulted in the reformation of some of the programs however the government had arguably already demonstrated that issues of minority ethnic groups were expendable by ‘White’ government bureaucracies • Post 9/11 Australia • A renewed emphasis on non-white minority ethnic groups as a potential ‘threat’ to national security and cultural hegemony in Australia • Most pronounced in Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom have been displaced from their countries of origin due to the ‘war on terror’ – of which Australia continues to be a part of • Must be considered as connected to, rather than separate to, racist policies of the past
  7. 7. Racism • It involves the belief that humanity can be organised in various groups – races – and that these groups can be ranked according to achievement and worth. In essence, it is the belief that some groups are inherently – biologically – inferior to other groups • Abuse, violence, discrimination, rejection on the basis of assumed differences from the dominant group • For minority groups, this may be throughout their lives, within and outside school • Name-calling, teasing, verbal abuse, exclusion from activities, violence, assumptions of difference, ‘jokes’, stereotypes are all racism – common in schools but often little is done
  8. 8. Institutional Racism Where the system acts to discriminate – in schools - testing, content, structures, pedagogy, power…. • Organisation of schools • Curriculum • Standardised testing “The distinctive feature of racist thinking is not hatred, what sets it off from other thinking is that it justifies policies and institutional priorities that perpetuate racial inequality” (Wellham, 2001, 164). When thinking about whether policies and institutions are racist, we need to look beyond their stated intents to their lived effects.
  9. 9. Critical Race Theory • Critical race theory has been used by educators to examine how race and ethnicity can be implicit in unequal power relationships between teachers and their students by examining the normalised practices of privileged white teachers who teach students unlike themselves. • The ideas of critical race theory provide a useful ways for pre-service and practicing teachers to critique their own cultural positioning, how they view their students, and more significantly, how they become responsible for their actions. • A key element of critical race theory is examining privilege. • Teachers can gain a better understanding of how educational policy, curriculum, pedagogy and other institutional school-based practices are developed and enacted in ways that are normalised by the dominant culture through critical race theory
  10. 10. The Invisibility of Whiteness and White Privilege • The fact that white people don’t see any issues of racism, sociologists argue, means that their ‘race’ is privileged and that they do not experience racism, since whiteness is the powerful position on the social hierarchy (Leonardo, 2004). • In this sense whiteness is invisible, meaning it is positioned as ‘natural’ and ‘normal’, as if every other racial identity is ‘different’ or ‘other’ (Roman, 1993). • When white privilege is the focus, it is possible to shed light on key deficit presumptions that have widespread impact on the quality of education frequently offered to children and young people in disadvantaged communites. For example, cultures of low expectations and how this is associated with race, ethnicity, and culture.
  11. 11. Race, Ethnicity and Schooling Schooling is affected by broader social contexts in positive and negative ways… • What are schools like as settings for the making of race and ethnicity; as places fostering racism or diversity? • The everyday practices, organisational procedures & discourses of school reproduce racial and ethnic inequalities – make people into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’
  12. 12. Educational Outcomes: Affect of Race and Ethnicity Non-Anglo Celtic Ethnicity • Evidence suggests ethnicity plays a significant role in determining educational outcomes – although not clear cut. • Complex relationship between social class, gender, and ethnicity • Segregation according to public and private school enrolments • Indigenous students perform significantly below other ethnicities Immigrants and Refugees • Australia is one of only four countries where immigrant students perform above the OECD average • The top 25% of immigrants perform better than the topic 25% of Australian-born students • The bottom 25% of immigrant students perform significantly worse than the bottom 25% of Australian born • Refugees struggle in our education system
  13. 13. Diversity is dynamic and enriching – something we could all benefit from… The teacher who stands for equity… Learns about how racial and ethnic discourses are used to position and regulate us and our students – how we police ourselves with the same discourses – we then might learn to construct oppositional discourses It’s all about valuing multiple and diverse forms of race and ethnicity – trying to remain vigilant so that no one is disadvantaged or harassed on the basis of their racial and/or ethnic identities.
  14. 14. References Ballantine, J.H. & Hammack, F,M. (2012). The Sociology of Education: A Systematic Analysis. Boston: Pearson. Lampert, J., Burnett, B., and Morse, K. (2015). Destabalising privilege: Disrupting deficit thinking in white pre-service teachers on field experience in culturally diverse, high poverty schools. In Understanding sociological theory for educational practices (Ed. Fefolja, Jones Diaz, and Ullman). Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Connell et al. (2011). Education, Change and Society. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Tait, G. (2016). Making sense of mass education. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

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