Book: Learning Whiteness – Arathi Sriprakash, Jessica Gerrard & Sophie RudolphOn January 2, 2023 by sarmientoverano
By: Lucia Sarmiento Verano
What is this book about?
The process of learning and internalising whiteness with a focus on how this educational project works in a settler colonial state such as Australia, including the following topics:
- The Material, Epistemic and Affective dimensions of the learning process
- How emotional processes (superiority and fragility) are connected to this learning
- How the system invites all people, including non-white communities, to participate in the praxis of whiteness
- Connections between education and Racial/Colonial Capitalism
What is radical/new/different about it?
In truth, I have seldom read anything on such a complex topic, requiring the use of concepts which describe complex historical and global systems, that was also written in such a simple and easy to understand language.
The authors have made their text and their ideas accessible to non-academics, without shying away from connecting their arguments to truly radical work. In short, they say it exactly how it is, and in a way that is easy to understand.
Why you should read this book:
This book is short, concise, but also extremely clear in its ideas. It avoids jargon and explains as simply as possible some of the core concepts used in it, while providing solid references to read further into these topics.
Importantly, it will allow you to clearly see how:
- Education systems around the world participate actively in reproducing whiteness through their content/curriculum, but also through their material structures.
- How the state, media and other non-gov channels also participate in this indoctrination (and punishment of people who speak up) through mobilising of emotional material and affective states in people and groups.
I believe that, even if you do not live in what we now call a settler colonial state, you can also apply this information to your experience in many ways.
You don’t need previous knowledge on Australian history or politics to understand the authors’ arguments, which is good. However, the book if short and won’t expand on some of the most important concepts used. You might want or need to do some side reading to deeply grasp some of them at times. Hopefully, the succinct explanations given within the pages of this book will be enough!
Have you read this text? If so, what did you think? Please share below.
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