Capstone/Dissertation Title

White Teachers Examine Their Racial Biases: A Book Study Group

Term

Fall 12-4-2014

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Barbara Swanson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Tami Staloch-Schultz

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sarah Skahan

Abstract

A team of 19 educators in a suburban school in Minnesota learn about racism while reading Derald Wing Sue’s book, Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation. Over a five month period, these educators examine their personal racial biases toward Black students with the hope that by acknowledging their White Privilege and by confronting the racism within themselves, these White teachers can provide a more accepting and validating educational experience for their students. Changes in the educator’s racial biases are analyzed by comparing each educator’s responses to 10 racially biased beliefs statements on a Likert scale before reading the book and after reading the book. A second analysis of responses is a group- composite analysis where the data was broken down by question to see how the group as a whole changed their responses to the racial belief statements. The results of the small study seem to indicate that, although uncovering racial bias is very difficult work, when a White educator openly admits her own racial biases to her peers, then combines that admission with strong lessons about the history of Black Americans and of how racism is taught and perpetuated today, her biases lessened along with her ignorance. This effect seems to happen with other educators in the study as well.

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