Naming the Unnamed: White Culture in Relief

Book Section (Chapter)

Culture is dynamic, shifting and varied over time and geographic place; it is also often invisible to those whose lives are shaped by its taken for granted rules of “how we do things around here.” The notion that White cultural trends and behavior might shape the life of schools is hard to grasp for most White teachers for whom the culture is invisible, and yet for students of color who grow up in homes with assumptions and expectations that differ from the majority White culture, it couldn’t be more plain. This chapter uses storytelling to illustrate White culture from the perspective of five different women, analyzing the ways that white culture showed up in their lives as children and as teachers. We are Latina-, Korean-, Jamaican-, African- and White- American. By telling the stories of how White culture showed up in our lives, we start to paint a clear picture of White culture that is complicated and multiperspectival. Our goal is not to pin down White culture, but to demonstrate how it has shown up in our lives. White culture, with its incredible demand for assimilation and its unrelenting standards of beauty, is a force to contend with as one teaches children to understand the world and to love themselves. Our chapter ends with a list of practical suggestions for teachers to recognize White culture and make their classrooms multicultural in a way that honors all cultures, rather than melting them into oblivion.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Michael, A; Coleman-King, C; Lee, S; Ramirez, C; Bentley-Edwards, K

Cited Editors

  • Hancock, S; Warren, C

Published Date

  • 2017

Book Title

  • White Women's Work Examining the Intersectionality of Teaching, Identity, and Race

Start / End Page

  • 19 - 43

Published By

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 1681236478

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781681236476