Decentering the White and Male Standpoints in Race and Ethnicity Courses

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Book Chapter

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Universities have increasingly become a site of contestation for issues regarding race, class, and gender. As more universities add a “diversity requirement” to their list of courses necessary for degree articulation, the politics surrounding these courses intensifies. Although it seems generally positive that universities offer more courses about racial and ethnic inequality, the way that many of these courses are organized is extremely problematic. The epistemological standpoint of the course is particularly important. From whose knowledge base is this course organized? I have found that many courses are organized from a white and male knowledge base. “Ethnic studies is grounded in an epistemological assumption of multiple standpoints that coalesce around socially constructed racial categories … and stand in opposition to whiteness.”1 Chun, Christopher, and Gumport argue for multiple perspectives in courses on racial inequality, particularly those that challenge white and male hegemonic notions of race and reality. Unfortunately, many courses do not challenge reified notions of race and reality, and some actually reinforce them.

Chapter of

Twenty-First-Century Feminist Classrooms

Part of

Comparative Feminist Studies Series


Amie A. Macdonald
Susan Sánchez-Casal