Colleges and universities are on a precipice when it comes to race and racism–although many institutions pledge a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, institutions continue to fail their Brown and Black students. When studying these failures, researchers often look to critical theories of race, such as Critical Race Theory to help understand why Brown and Black students continue to experience marginalization, despite the institutional effort. However, we argue that using theories of race to understand individual student experiences focuses the effort in the wrong direction. In this talk, we outline what is the right direction–that using theories such as CRT requires two things: a strong understanding of what theorizing spaces are and a strong critique of the role of institutional whiteness in maintaining problematic norms.
Dr. Stephanie Masta is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She is also an Associate Professor in Curriculum Studies at Purdue University, with courtesy appointments in the School of Engineering Education and the College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. James Holly, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and core faculty member within the Engineering Education Research program at the University of Michigan.