Making Monsters The Myths in Teaching about White Supremacy

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Rasul Mowatt


Instructors have critically sought ways to embody the theories and ideals espoused in radical texts and work to better force changes in the type of students we produce. What is presented here is an honest reflective dialogue, based on a reflexive critique of 17 years as a professor and the students I have encountered. But more importantly, this is also based on an equal set of years studying the aftereffects of White supremacy, the “candy wrapper” left on the ground at a campsite that informs someone was present, insinuates what may have been done, and eludes a sense of disregard while foreclosing any understanding of what it will go on to do next. Those candy wrappers are the “mild” subjects of the legacy of lynching, colonialism, and state-sanctioned violence. So, in the context of being a faculty member engaged with students, I pose a question to you, for us, from me: What if instead of “transgressing” White supremacy, we are in fact maintaining it? Many of us in higher education have come to an understanding that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is insufficient for college teaching and student learning to positively move forward through the 21st century. If we are to understand White supremacy not as a societal add-on that has corrupted the world around us but instead as the actual world around us, how do we properly contextualize this in a course or class? How do we foster experiences that deepen an understanding of a systemic reality? This essay challenges reductionist understandings of White supremacy as a matter of privilege that are reflected in DEI, culturally responsive teaching, dismantling, antiracist, invisible-knapsack-based approaches. Could it be that through this reduction we are instead producing “monsters”?


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How to Cite
Mowatt, R. (2022). Making Monsters: The Myths in Teaching about White Supremacy. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(4).
Pedagogy of the Polarized