Individual Presentation or Panel Title

White Fatigue: Rethinking White Resistance in the Post-Obama Era

Abstract

White fatigue (Flynn, 2015) is related to White resistance (Goodman, 2011) but is distinct from other concepts such as White guilt (Leonardo, 2004) and White fragility (DiAngelo, 2011). White fatigue, brought about by the challenges and complexities of learning about racism, focuses on the portion of White folks that understand attitudes and actions reflect certain forms of racism (i.e. individual racism) but who do not yet fully grasp the underpinning of systemic and institutional racism and their impact in developing racist worldviews (Smedley and Smedley, 2012). Consideration of this concept is especially important to consider in helping students advance their understanding of racism from the popular focus of racism (i.e. prejudice, discrimination, individual racism) to more complex and substantial systemic and institutional forms of racism that are often met with confusion, disbelief, denial, or dismissal. Key to the idea of White fatigue is the question of why understanding racism and moving toward more socially just practices is so challenging for educators? Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (1977; 1993) affords us the ability to talk about group trends and individual’s experiences simultaneously (Hiller and Rooksby, 2005). This presentation will further explore the basic elements of White fatigue while also connecting the idea to habitus as a way of further theorizing how and why many White students seem to get frustrated with or tired of discussing racism in schools and society.

Presentation Description

Have you ever heard someone say they are tired of talking about racism? Is that a sign of resistance or is something else at play? White fatigue is related White resistance and is brought about by the challenges and complexities of learning about racism. However, the fatigued do not reject learning about racism and are understanding of the moral imperative of anti-racism. This session will explore the notion of White fatigue and its relationship to Bourdieu's notion of habitus as a way of encouraging discussion about the curricular challenges of teaching about racism.

Keywords

Social Justice Education, Multicultural Education, Race and Racism, Whiteness Studies

Location

Oglethorpe

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 10th, 2:15 PM Jun 10th, 3:30 PM

White Fatigue: Rethinking White Resistance in the Post-Obama Era

Oglethorpe

White fatigue (Flynn, 2015) is related to White resistance (Goodman, 2011) but is distinct from other concepts such as White guilt (Leonardo, 2004) and White fragility (DiAngelo, 2011). White fatigue, brought about by the challenges and complexities of learning about racism, focuses on the portion of White folks that understand attitudes and actions reflect certain forms of racism (i.e. individual racism) but who do not yet fully grasp the underpinning of systemic and institutional racism and their impact in developing racist worldviews (Smedley and Smedley, 2012). Consideration of this concept is especially important to consider in helping students advance their understanding of racism from the popular focus of racism (i.e. prejudice, discrimination, individual racism) to more complex and substantial systemic and institutional forms of racism that are often met with confusion, disbelief, denial, or dismissal. Key to the idea of White fatigue is the question of why understanding racism and moving toward more socially just practices is so challenging for educators? Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (1977; 1993) affords us the ability to talk about group trends and individual’s experiences simultaneously (Hiller and Rooksby, 2005). This presentation will further explore the basic elements of White fatigue while also connecting the idea to habitus as a way of further theorizing how and why many White students seem to get frustrated with or tired of discussing racism in schools and society.