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Abstract

Research indicates that students of color often experience marginalization in their academic pursuits at predominantly white institutions. This study utilized critical whiteness studies to examine how communication teachers who instructed basic courses enacted cultural sensitivity in their course content and pedagogical practices. Fifteen faculty at seven academic institutions were interviewed about their teaching practices. Three recurring themes emerged in the data analysis: (a) culture and absence, (b) culture and the marginal, and (c) culture and conflict. These themes revealed how whiteness functioned implicitly to place cultural and diversity issues outside of my participants’ knowing and thus outside of their basic communication courses. This “white” framing impairs the ability of faculty to enact cultural sensitivity.