Faces of Whiteness 2 Abstract The article “Faces of Whiteness: Pitfalls and the Critical Democrat“ by John T. Warren and Kathy Hytten is an article that reviews what it means to be white. The article’s writers questioned how white students experienced diversity education information. After reviewing the article, I was led to decide where I was in the proposed construct suggested by the article as a white student.
The following is my reaction to the article and my best judgement on where I stand in regards to the construct presented.Faces of Whiteness 3 My reaction to this conceptual framework is that it makes an assumption that because a person is white, that they must present with one of these four temporary ‘faces’. I suppose my background and upbringing and family make-up make it very difficult to comprehend this. Since I was raised in a military family around other military families of all colors and I had a black uncle and a gay uncle, it is difficult to find out where I am in this transformative process. I don’t fit neatly into any of the four faces listed in the article.I would have to create my own face. One that was brought up to be a critical democrat already with a shade of missionary and a shade of intellectualizer.
I was never really referred to as “white” in opposition to anyone until I came to American schools in the 8th grade. By then, I guess I was ignorant to differences in color. When it was presented to me that I was a white child with a nice house and that was a ‘problem’ if I chose to hang around other non-white or poor children, I suppose I would have to have categorized myself as a borderline intellectualizer.I do find “diversity education fascinating(Warren & Hytten, 2004)”, however, I did not keep a distance as the lecture suggests. I tended to become a borderline ‘missionary’ face then because I took a stand with those that would be discriminated against due to color or socioeconomic disadvantage. I was a rescuer. I remember getting into fights during my high school years defending other students who were picked on or deprived something due to whatever privilege they were ‘lacking’ according to other students, teachers or even administrators.
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I did learn quickly to see that as a white child with a nice house in America, I was privy to things my friends were not and I chose to identify that fact and still make sure Faces of Whiteness 4 that my friends knew that it didn’t matter to me. I was always able to put myself in other peoples’ shoes. I still try to do this. It has helped me a lot in mediation of different struggles with self, students, parents, colleagues and administration. I suppose growing up military makes you into someone different.I know that my current peers do not always understand how I keep my cool and don’t let things bother my or I don’t let parents of my students’ get the better of me. I am able to place myself in their situation, mostly because I have probably been there.
I have been placed in many different scenarios growing up. None of which I feel are appropriate to share here. Suffice it to say, I can adequately place myself in the shoes of almost anyone these days and identify with their worries and their needs. I think it is this that makes my “face of whiteness’ difficult to distinguish.I believe that I am currently a critical democrat in the making and doing pretty well so far. As for how I can apply this concept in my classroom: I myself can practice active listening in order to be aware of where my students are in this construct and to help them grow through their ‘faces’ and to a point of critical democracy and understanding. I will need to create activities that encourage students to engage in dialogue that brings out their viewpoints on color or other differences and provide them a safe place to learn to become the critical democrat and grow out of the other “faces of whiteness”.
In addition, I can present information and ideas that promote discussion utilizing the Social Action Approach mentioned in our text. Or I could blend a couple of approaches mentioned. If I use the Social Action approach, I would better “enable students to identify important social issues, gather data related to them, clarify their values, make reflective Faces of Whiteness 5 decisions, and take actions to implement their decisions“ (Banks & Banks, 2010). I could do this by presenting specific lesson plans that directly address the issue of prejudice and create opportunities for discussion, introspection and reflection.Using groups that are diverse to incorporate the lessons may provide the students more opportunity to see another point of view. It may also allow them to befriend each other, thus improving race relations in the classroom and in the school. Faces of Whiteness 6References Warren, J.
T. , & Hytten, K. (2004). The faces of whiteness: pitfalls and the critical democrat. Communication Education, 53(4), 321-339. Banks , J. A.
, & Banks, C. A. McGee. (Ed. ). (2010). Multicultural education; issues and perspectives, 7th ed.
. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
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