Social justice and equity : exploring the perspectives of senior administrators on whiteness and racism in postsecondary education
Pearson, Krista Leanne
Critical race theory
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This study explored senior administrators‘ perspectives on Whiteness and racism in postsecondary education. The study focused on Canadian senior administrators at postsecondary institutions located in 2 provinces and in 2 communities with populations of less than 100,000. Using critical ethnography and narrative inquiry methodologies, this study‘s participants acknowledged that Whiteness and racism exist in postsecondary institutions. It found that senior administrators are in a position to influence the postsecondary institutional climate, and that they perceive their role as being accountable to the organization including responses to Whiteness and racism. This study asserts that as a well-educated and predominantly White culture-sharing group, the senior administrators‘ conscientiousness of White privilege is required to address racism. Most of this study‘s senior administrator participants acknowledge having been exposed to specific acts of racism in higher education. The findings suggest specific actions to challenge racism within postsecondary institutions, such as senior administrators‘ role-modeling actions against racism; adopting a critical pedagogical approach toward institutional antiracist education; the enforcement of institutional antidiscrimination and harassment policies; and hiring procedures informed by nondominant perspectives to promote employee diversity. This research also revealed prejudices disproportionately focused on Aboriginal students and communities, which implies a role for further research and government response.