Snow is Only White in Our Imagination: Integrating Cultural Exploration into the Learning Experience for White College StudentsInternational Journal of Critical Pedagogy (2014)
America has a long history of privileging the color white. Historically racist
constructs of color have often positioned “White” as the ideal and “Black”
“Brown” “Red” and “Yellow” as the disdained. Whiteness is often associated with
ideals of purity, cleanliness, holiness, and spotlessness (http://www.thefreedictionary.
com). Of course this type of discourse deeply damages communities of color
whose racial identity is not aligned with Whiteness. But this way of thinking also
damages members of White communities. Besides breeding a culture of imagined
superiority, conceiving White as spotless erases the real imprint of life experience.
This way of thinking actually posits White as a blank color. White can be seen as
empty, colorless, bare, and plain. White has been a blank slate. But anyone that
lives in a snow state knows very well that snow is only white in our imagination.
When snow covers our streets it is actually colored gray as a result of its social interactions—
the people that walk on it, the cars that drive through it. Life leaves
its imprint on the snow. And life also leaves its imprint on people—it gives us
color. So what might happen when we provide intentional and deep educational
opportunities for White college students to wrestle with issues of cultural identity—
to explore the life experiences that give their lives color?
- White students,
- culturally relevant pedagogy,
- social justice,
Citation InformationToby S Jenkins. "Snow is Only White in Our Imagination: Integrating Cultural Exploration into the Learning Experience for White College Students" International Journal of Critical Pedagogy Vol. 5 Iss. 2 (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tobysjenkins/22/