Posted on Leave a comment

Researching Antiracist Instructional Strategies

Dr. Brett Cook-Snell standing out to stand up at Old Dominion University in his kilt, black lives matter mask, and white silence equals white consent t-shirt. (Cook-Snell, 2020).

It’s been a while since I blogged, only because I take a break between semesters. The semester has started, and I am back to blogging. But this time with a twist.

This semester, a black female colleague and I are working on a research project for a book chapter. The research question for the study and that I will be using in an information literacy course I teach is:


How can antiracist instructional design strategies be incorporated into an existing white instructor’s course to push both the professor and the students to critically examine the impact of racism and its systemic nature on our own personal racial biases”?


I am that white instructor. My colleague will document my journey as the qualitative portion of the study. She will use homework examples I provide to students on antiracism and systemic racism. She will also have access to my personal journal as I work through Me and white supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor (Saad, 2020). Saad (2020) includes a journal writing process asking pointed questions on white racial awareness. I have made the conscious decision to publish my personal journal on my public blog. The process requires me to be blatantly honest about the discomfort I feel in my own white fragility, white supremacy, and white privilege. My blog also includes those examples of research writing I provide my students. I have been publicly posting these entries for the past year as my commitment to fight systemic racism.

For the quantitative portion of the study, my colleague will recruit students from my information literacy courses to participate and then randomly assign them to control and treatment groups. Control group students will receive homework examples using the topic of accessible instruction and treatment group students will receive homework examples on systemic racism.  Instruction will be the same across groups. I will not know who is participating nor to which group they belong. Two surveys will be administered at the beginning and end of the semester to measure any changes in racial self-awareness and systemic racism based upon group membership (control or treatment).  It is not without credentialing that I approach this investigation. With a PhD in Education concentrated in instructional design, the literature suggests exposure to homework examples may promote vicarious learning (Gholson & Craig, 2006).

I’m hoping by chronicling my journey, forthrightly, and honestly, and providing research based and supported facts with regard to racism, white privilege, white fragility and white supremacy, my students who read my homework examples I provide them, and my readers who follow my public blog, will be challenged to examine their own racial awareness within the greater picture of system racism and work towards changing the status quo.

References

Cook-Snell, B. (2020). Dr. Brett Cook-Snell standing out to stand up in his kilt, black lives matter mask, and white silence equals white consent t-shirt [Photograph].

Gholson, B., & Craig, S. D. (2006). Promoting constructive activities that support vicarious learning during computer-based instruction. Educational Psychology Review, (18)2, 119-139. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1007/s10648-006-9006-3

Saad, L. F. (2020). Me and white supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, become a good ancestor. Sourcebooks.

Posted on 2 Comments

Visibly Invisible

Museum visitors in front of the Martin Niemöller quotation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (n.d.).
Museum visitors in front of the Martin Niemöller quotation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (n.d.).

I am at the end of teaching my 8-week course on information literacy. My students’ last major writing assignment is to summarize all their blog entries into one paper. This is my example for them on my topic of racism.

At 6’4”, I’m hard to miss. Add a white shirt, suspenders, bowtie, and a fedora and I’m even harder to miss.  I used to get several comments a day about my style. People would smile, nod, and acknowledge my presence. But not anymore. Not since I added a “White Silence Equals White Consent – Black Lives Matter” t-shirt to my daily ensemble. Now most white people avoid eye contact. I have become visibly invisible.

Cook-Snell (2020).
Self-Image (Cook-Snell, 2020)

So what changed? I didn’t change. My views didn’t change. The places I go to didn’t change. The only thing that changed was my outfit expressing my own outrage of three more deaths of black men at the hands of white men. Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks. One murdered by white supremacists, one murdered by the knee of a law enforcement officer, and another shot in the back.

Sadly, white outrage at black and brown death is already passing. BLM rallies with white participation are already slowing down. The next big news story is increases in COVID-19 are back.

White immunity and white privilege have reasserted themselves. White community has already diluted the message of “No Justice! No Peace!” into “Know Justice. Know Peace.” in attempt to maintain the status quo of white dominance. This change of is another example of minimizing racism to assuage white consciousness.

But as for me, I will continue to wear my T-shirt to be a visible witness to closed minds. In fact, I think I will go order several more.

References

Cook-Snell, B. (2020). Self-image [Photograph].

Museum visitors in front of the Martin Niemöller quotation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (n.d.). [Photograph]. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists