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Critical Whiteness Studies

It has only been in the last 25 years that higher education scholars have begun to study Whiteness. While some higher education scholarship addresses diversity, this work tends to focus minimally on racism and even less on Whiteness. Whiteness is not the same as White people; as Leonardo (2009) offered, “‘Whiteness’ is a racial discourse, whereas the category ‘white people’ represents a socially constructed identity, usually based on skin color … Whiteness is not a culture but a social concept” (pp. 169–170). That is, a system of historical and contemporary racism (i.e., White supremacy) relies on normalizing the structural advantages of Whiteness at the expense of People of Color.

Centering Whiteness as the root of racial inequality deviates from the more common perspective that racial issues ...

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