Whiteness is not innate - it is learned. The systems of white domination that prevail across the world are not pregiven or natural. Rather, they are forged and sustained in social and political life. Learning Whiteness examines the material conditions, knowledge politics and complex feelings that create and relay systems of racial domination. Focusing on Australia, the authors demonstrate how whiteness is fundamentally an educational project - taught within education institutions and through public discourse - in active service of the settler colonial state. To see whiteness as learned is to recognize that it can be confronted. This book invites readers to reckon with past and present politics of education in order to imagine a future thoroughly divested from racism.
This book ist part of the alternative reading list 2022 by Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ). The editors comment has been provided by D-Econ and can also be found on the list, which was compiled by Devika Dutt, Danielle Guizzo, and Ingrid Kvangraven.
Comment from our editors:
Whiteness is a process of learning: one is not born white, but becomes one. In this rich and compelling volume, Sriprakash, Rudolph and Gerrard offer a meticulous (and eye-opening) reading of educational experiences and structures that endorse systemic racism. They examine the material conditions, knowledge politics and complex feelings that create and relay systems of racial domination, exploring how the structural formations of racial domination tied to European colonialism continue to be reinscribed across all aspects of social life, but particularly in education – which reinforces structural racism and social inequalities. The volume describes the example of Australia, using it to demonstrate how Australian education offered a grounded account of the workings of British settler colonialism as a globally enduring project. Further, they also summarise many educational practices of how one “learns whiteness” through materialities, knowledges, and feelings as a process of capturing and normalising identities. An impressive book for those interested in further deepening their knowledge about the role of education in perpetuating racism.