Source: Howard, G.R. (2006). White educators and the river of change. We can’t teach what we don’t know: white teachers, multiracial schools (pp. 69-86). New York: Teachers College Press
Purpose: The purpose of Howard’s 2006 article, “White Educators and the River of Change” was to encourage white teachers to view the dynamics of white dominance more realistically, determining how such a culture impacts the schools, communities, and students, and instead working to create a culture of “healing responses” to such a reality.
Howard (2006) believes that the problem of white privilege is a severe issue in today’s society.
Howard (2006) believes that the concept of “white privilege” is one in which cultural conditioning is not addressed, nor is the fact that the ignorance identified through cultural conditioning is what serves to continue to decrease the power and privilege of other races.
Howard (2006) believes that it is necessary for the white population to step outside of their cultural comfort zone and view other cultures as they are, from a different perspective in order to work to create a culture of equality in today’s society.
Howard (2006) believes that it should be the responsibility of white educators to acknowledge such a disparity and work to correct it through their teachings, thereby decreasing its prevalence in society today.
Appraisal: I have read several different articles on the concept of “white privilege,” however it is not something I have ever experienced, or knowingly experienced within my own life. I do notice that there are instances where my friends and I go out and those who are of the same ethnicity as certain members are likely to speak to others they see from the same ethnic groups, and vice versa, a concept which may be likened to that of “white privilege” to a degree. The concept that certain people do not have a thought about how others in public view them and do not think twice about the potential cause for societal concern that may occur as a result of their entry into a public venue is one that is alive and well within today’s culture. To this end, the request that white educators work to reduce such discrepancies and disparities starting within the classroom, the author’s premise makes sense; that by working to create a multicultural environment while the children are young, it has the potentiality to remove such discrepancies from our society as these children grow up, working to instill these same concepts within their own children.
In this manner, Howard’s premise is quite valid; by working to change the viewpoints of school children, we are working not only to change the current state of our culture, but working to influence the cultures of future generations, offering a way for individuals to make this world better in other, less visible ways.
1. Is white privilege still an issue in today’s society?
2. What is one method that may be used to work to decrease the problem of the concept of white privilege?
3. Has our society shifted in such a way that the concerns present in Howard’s 2006 article are no longer as pressing as they once were, and if so, what concerns have taken over in importance level?