Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Racial biases in academic knowledge

Philosophy News image
The word of racism evokes individual expressions of racial prejudice or one’s superiority over other races. An outrageous yet archetypical example is found in the recent racist tweets made by the President Donald Trump, attacking four congresswomen of color by suggesting that they go back to the countries where they are originally from if they criticize America. Along with such individual racism, institutional racism exists not only in politics, entertainment, housing, healthcare, and incarceration, but also in education. However, what is often overlooked is another form of racism—epistemological racism or biases in academic knowledge and associated scholarly activities. In schools and universities, racism is typically regarded as microaggressions that students and instructors of color experience daily as a result of intentional or unintentional racial insults targeted at them. Racism is also manifested as over- or under-representations of certain racial groups in institutional categories, such as departments, committees, and administrators. Yet, epistemological racism is invisible and ingrained in our academic knowledge system, reinforcing institutional and individual forms of racism. In North America, for instance, racial biases in school knowledge becomes evident when we ask, whose culture and views are reflected in teaching history, literacy, language, and art. Similarly, in higher education, it is important to question whose perspective dominates theory, methodology, and empirical knowledge deemed legitimate. Obviously, in many disciplines, a typical answer is European-American epistemological approaches originally developed by white scholars, often male, trained within Western academic traditions. Many scholars of color are compelled to fit in this mainstream culture of white knowledge in order to survive and thrive. This includes myself—a woman scholar of language education originally from Japan and working in a North American university. This pressure to. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

blog comments powered by Disqus