Blinded by the White: Social Studies and Raceless Pedagogies


  • Prentice T. Chandler



This article examines the race related pedagogies of two white, male teachers in north Alabama. Drawing on the analysis of two qualitative case studies related to how they taught about race within the context of their American history courses, the author argues that teaching about race within their classes serves to reify and uphold white supremacy in the social studies curricula. The author describes the following themes that emerged throughout the research: a) liberal, incremental process, b) race neutrality and color-blindness, c) fear of teaching about race, and d) naturalization/essentialization of race. The analysis of how race is conceptualized by the teachers in this study is informed by critical race theory (CRT). social studies research, and Pierre Bourdieu's notion of misrecognition. By utilizing CRT philosophy, he points to the idea that race, as a part of the formal and enacted curriculum is downplayed and overshadowed by more traditional explanations of race in United States history. He argues that the social studies profession needs to make race and racism a more visible part of the social studies curricula. Implications of this research point to a need to reconceptualize citizenship and citizenship education and to resist the cultural right in the area of social education.