Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom

Beacon. Jan. 2021. 216p. ISBN 9780807033708. $24.95. ED
Picower (teaching and learning, Montclair State Univ.; Practice What You Teach) examines K–12 education in the United States and argues that it perpetuates systemic racist curricula. The author uses the “Curricular Tools of Whiteness,” a framework she developed, to explain how teaching practices can uphold white supremacy. Citing examples of racist lessons that have gone viral on social media, this book pinpoints two problems in teaching: lack of cultural proficiency, and the centering of Whiteness in education. Picower writes case studies of four pre-service teachers, who reflect on their own experiences with race and the influences of socialization, lack of exposure, and bias on their teaching. Picower also highlights particular pre-service teacher education programs in the U.S. that she believes effectively center racial justice, and discusses inclusive, responsive education practices that can lead to student learning, engagement, and success. Like Dr. Bettina Love’s Abolitionist Teaching and Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s Cultivating Genius, this well-written, accessible book pushes educators to reexamine standard instructional practices.
VERDICT Classroom teachers, curriculum instructors, and administrators, especially those eager to implement culturally responsive teaching strategies, will find this title essential to starting conversations about antiracist pedagogy.
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