Introduction: 'Resistance to Teaching Antiracism'
Resistance to Teaching Antiracism is a special issue of Understanding & Dismantling Privilege, the official journal of the White Privilege Conference, a program of the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS).
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The inspiration of this special edition comes from conversations that have taken place at the White Privilege Conference. At WPC14 in Seattle (2013), the guest editors, Drs. Ruth Thompson-Miller, Leslie Picca, and Eddie Moore, Jr., were having a conversation with Dr. Abby Ferber about the resistance that faculty of color face in the classroom, even if the topics of race and ethnicity are never discussed.
The conversation turned to the need for proactive strategies and best practices for managing different types of resistance. We joked that it would be great to have a manual that included tidbits such as, “If you face X, then Y.” At this point, Ferber, one of the editors of Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, suggested that the three of us coordinate a special issue of the WPC journal. This was the result.
Pulling together the insight and wisdom of UDP authors and readers, our goal focused on collecting the narratives of ordinary and extraordinary strategies for overcoming resistance in teaching antiracism (broadly defined). Resistance to Teaching Antiracism is not confined to experiences in the classroom with students (supposedly) subordinate to the teacher; much antiracism teaching takes place with family, friends, children, and strangers alike in a variety of settings from work, school, home, and places of worship, to broader public settings.
Indeed, the broader vitriolic national attention and backlash experienced by the White Privilege Conference illustrates the consequences of resisting and challenging structural and systemic racism.