Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Abstract

The hyper-surveillance of Black students has been well documented by educators and researchers across disciplines and reflects an increase in calls for research that examines the reproduction of racial inequality in educational spaces. To contend with the presence of antiblackness in the classroom is fundamentally about recognizing the humanity of Black students and interrogating the ways that they are dehumanized by racialized structures and social interactions. To examine antiblackness and humanity in the classroom, I conducted a critical collaborative case study with six teachers from an elementary school in a diverse Midwestern school district. I engaged BlackCrit Theory to examine how teachers' ideas and beliefs about race manifest in their interactions with and behavior towards students. Based on the analysis of teacher statements, interviews, classroom observations and collaborative teacher group study over the course of two school years, findings revealed that antiblackness emerges in the relational context of teaching and learning, regardless of teachers' articulated ideas and beliefs about race. Teachers' inability to recognize antiblackness in their beliefs showed up as highly racialized treatment of students in the classroom, whereas recognition of racial bias corresponded to more actively antiracist teaching and humanizing pedagogy. These findings suggest that humanizing educational experiences for Black students must be consciously cultivated through the development and practice of anti-racist relational pedagogy.

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