They are still asking the "What are you?" question: race, racism, and multiracial people in higher education
Knaus, Christopher Bodenheimer
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The purpose of this study was to understand how multiracial undergraduate students think about race and racism, and to understand how education (K--12 and college) has prepared them to think critically about race, racism, and their multiracial identity. This is important because multiracial people are one of the fastest growing groups of people in the U.S., because our current thinking of race and racism is limited to historical monoracial groups, and because multiracial students offer a unique perspective into understanding the new faces of race and racism. Data collection consisted of interviews and semi-guided creative writings, and both were coded, and analyzed to generate recurrent themes. The results of this study indicate that these students had many K--12 teachers that did not address, much less validate, their multiraciality, presented a white Euro-centric curriculum, and ignored the often intense racial teasing they endured from their peers. While these students took different routes to college, they were able to learn for the first time about race and racism through courses, and through their first exposure to large communities of peers of color. While they continued to face racist rejection from many of their white peers and faculty, these students were able to find support from some of their peers of color, many of whom were activists around race issues. These students ultimately suggest that higher education can develop critical awareness of race, racism, and racial identity. One such method of supporting such development could occur if educators required a two pronged course series centered on global issues and personal narratives of diverse peoples. This requirement, coupled with infusing race and racism (and other excluded perspectives) into the curriculum, could serve to make higher education more supportive of complex multiple identities while educating about the dynamics of racism and other forms of social exclusion.
- Education - Seattle