ABSTRACT

Critical stances require that scholars and educators wrestle with the thorny issue of race. This requires interrogation, exploration, and critical discussions beyond tools and methods of instructions. We believe that scholars and educators need to carve out spaces to not only construct their knowledge of practice, particularly in the contexts of instructional directives, but to expand on their understandings of the social construction of difference and race (Smith-Maddox & Solórzano, 2002). Race scholars caution against color-blind ideologies that can lead to what King (1991) calls dysconscious racism, “an uncritical habit of mind that justifies inequity and exploration by accepting the existing order of things as a given” (p. 135). The reality is that contemporary racism, inextricably linked to capitalism, and existing largely in the form of neoliberal denial, disregards how historical and contemporary private control of resources generated maintains racial inequality (Goldberg, 2009 in Weiner, 2018). Earlier we highlighted that creating multi-ethnic diverse classroom spaces demands a balancing act that involves the logistics of welcoming practice, setting up the language environment, creating systems of support, and inclusive curricula, all while attending to the sociopolitical context of schooling. Such contexts include disparaging messages about difference and race or “race talk” that refers to peculiar linguistic manners and rhetorical strategies, linked to technical and powerful tools that allow users to articulate frames and story lines (Bonilla-Silva, 2003a, p. 53). If left unchallenged, these storylines, or what critical race scholars call “master narratives,” enter classroom spaces where educators may or may not be prepared to engage them in a critical manner that can potentially lead to transformative conversations around difference, race, culture, power, and injustice. We enter this dilemma by providing an example of how every day “race talk,” or “master narratives,” are imbued with racist ideology that is highly problematic given the links to privilege, power, and dominance; not to mention centuries of exploitation, colonialism, and racially subordinating policies (Weiner, 2018). We contend that “race still matters” and explore historical legacies and their stubborn hold on the present by focusing on the effects of racism 84on immigrant students and families to address how discriminatory and exclusionary practices materially impact their lives (Araújo & Maeso 2012a, 2012b; Frijhoff, 2010; Van Dijk, 1992, 1993; Van Der Leeuw-Roord, 2009; Willinsky, 1998). Finally, we put forth a set of critical questions to begin exploring self as a precursor to engaging in the critical work of exploring issue of race, prejudice, and racism in schools.