School Without Racism? How White Teachers in Germany Practice Anti-Racialism

Hanna Maria Burhoff

Abstract


This qualitative study investigates how white teachers at a German Catholic comprehensive school conceptualize issues of “race” and racism in the context of being a “School without Racism – School with Courage” (SOR-SMC). By collecting signatures and exhibiting yearly projects, more than 3,300 schools in Germany brand their school to be “without racism”. I found the branding of my researched school to be a form of “anti-racialism” that opposed “race” and racism as concepts but did not tackle any underlying racist structures (Goldberg 2009, 10). The teachers I interviewed took the SOR-SMC branding for granted and assumed that the school was racism-free. They thereby engaged in silent racism and reproduced racist connotations and structures without challenging them (Trepagnier 2001). Being anti -racist is not accomplished by declaring a school as racism-free. Instead, white teachers need to understand that anti-racism involves a deeper engagement with the structures that keep “racial” inequality in place (Goldberg 2009, 10).


Keywords


whiteness; racism; critical race theory; identity; Germany; education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v11i3.11240

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Karen McGarry.

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