An assistant professor at the University of Iowa who pledged to expose her students to “their own white ignorance” in a “peer-reviewed academic journal” was stunned and appalled that she was, well, criticized for it.
Jodi Linley, a white education instructor, wrote that her goal was to make her “mostly white” graduate students keenly aware of their “white privilege” and use her classroom to “deconstruct whiteness.” If she did otherwise, she explained, it would make her “complicit” in perpetrating white supremacy.
“For white students,” she wrote, “talking about race with an all-white group of peers … [reveals] their own white ignorance.”
Linley said her commitment to designing classes that fight white privilege began as soon as she became a professor in 2014, at which point she resolved to “develop courses that both unveiled and rejected” the notion that “neutrality and objectivity are realistic and attainable.”
“As a white assistant professor of mostly white graduate students who will become higher education leaders, I work to dismantle whiteness in my curriculum, assignments and pedagogy,” Linley explained, noting that in addition to her “white identity,” she also draws on her “identities as a queer, able-bodied, cisgender woman” with a working-class background to construct her “teaching paradigm.”
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