The majority minority: academic experiences of white students in a predominately racial/ethnic minority school
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This dissertation uses ethnographic data to trace the educational processes and meanings pertaining to whiteness and white students in a predominately minority middle school. White students in this setting derived some advantages from their race, especially in discipline and classroom interactions. Advantages of whiteness depended largely on how others interpreted this characteristic, however. Teachers’ race composed a key factor in how they approached and perceived white students. Black teachers tended to link whiteness in this context to middle-class status, while white teachers tended to view these white students as poor and unfortunate. In the youth peer culture, whiteness was not perceived as desirable, and many white students tried to distance themselves from stereotypical whiteness by connecting to minority peers and the predominately minority neighborhood. To conclude, I propose that whiteness should be viewed as a hegemonic system that marginalizes non-whites as well as whites who do not reflect the hegemonic ideal. I propose several ways schools can counteract the reproduction of hegemonic white privilege in education.