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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Maurianne Adams

Second Advisor

Gretchen Rossman

Third Advisor

Nitasha Sharma

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Ethnic Studies | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

This dissertation explores how anti-racist education might be improved, so that it more effectively teaches Multiracial students about racism. A brief history of anti-racist education and a theory of monoracism – the systematic oppression of Multiracial people – provide context for the study. Anti-racist education in communities and colleges has supported U.S. social movements for racial justice. However, most anti-racist education programs are not designed by or for students who identify with two or more races. Nor have such programs generally sought to address Multiraciality or monoracism. Since the 1980s, Multiraciality has become more salient in popular U.S. racial discourses. The number of people identifying as Multiracial, Mixed Race, or related terms has also increased, particularly among school-age youth. Further, the size and number of Multiracial people’s organizations have also grown. Anti-racist education may pose unintended challenges for Multiracial students and their organizations. This study asked twenty-five educators involved in Multiracial organizations to discuss anti-racist education: what it should teach Multiracial students; what is working; what is not working; and how it might be improved. Qualitative data were gathered via five focus group interviews in three West Coast cities. Participants proposed learning goals for Multiracial students. Goals included learning about privilege and oppression; social constructionism; historical and contemporary contexts of racism; and impacts of racism and monoracism on Multiracial people. Participants also called for education that develops interpersonal relationships, self-reflection, and activism. Participants also discussed aspects of anti-racist education that may help or hinder Multiracial students’ learning, as well as possible improvements. Participants problematized the exclusion of Multiraciality, the use of Black/White binary racial paradigms, linear racial identity development models, and the use of racial caucus groups or affinity spaces. Participants also challenged educators’ monoracist attitudes and behaviors, particularly the treatment of questions as pathological “resistance.” Suggestions included addressing Multiraciality and monoracism, accounting for intersectionality and the social construction of race, validating self-identification, and teacher education about monoracism. The study then critically analyzes participants’ responses by drawing on literature about anti-racist education, social justice education, multicultural education, transgender oppression (cissexism), and monoracism. Based on that synthesis, alternate recommendations for research and practice are provided.

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