White lies : the White epistemology of race and Blackness in a White upper class school




Reed, Naomi Beth

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During eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in the suburbs of southwest Houston, Texas I examined the ways in which White upper class students, teachers, administrators, and parents think about race. As a result of exploring racial language, racial discourse, and racial texts in two US history textbooks, classroom lectures and activities, students' conversations and interviews, and local parents' political organizing, I explored the ways in which White people often think about, construct, and employ race. More specifically I learned the ways in which the White elite residents of this particular suburb know race. I am calling their way of knowing race a "White epistemology of race." I demonstrate how this White epistemology of race has informed, shaped, and guided this particular White community's attitudes toward their own education and residential resources as well as the education and residential resources of their Black and Brown intra-district peers. This dissertation aims to theorize the White epistemology of race and show it to be the unyielding source of a White "redemptive" ideology that is supported and created by the deployment of certain racialized discourses that insist and depend upon representations of Black cultural pathology.




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