Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 49:4 (November 2012), pp. 397–414. doi:10.1515/jsarp-2012-6381


Copyright © 2012 NASPA; published by Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This study is based on interviews with White students graduating from a student affairs preparation program as well as a literature review of whiteness in education. Applying critical race theory, the author examined the ways that students and institutions protected whiteness. Institutions and those within them concerned with equity must have awareness of whiteness and rework curriculum, pedagogy, polices, and practices to fracture educational hegemony of whiteness.

The goal of this study was to examine the ways that White students enrolled in a student affairs master’s program in a predominantly White institution engaged with race and racism and to locate their experiences within the context of the U.S. educational system. Students in predominantly White institutions are informed, directed, and supported by the institutions in which they are enrolled; unfortunately, these institutions have been cited as part of the problem of perpetuating oppression (Carr & Lund, 2007). While institutions make statements about their commitment to diversity and inclusion, teacher education programs ignore issues of race, power, and whiteness (Cross, 2005) and initiatives intended to create a more inclusive campus reinforce exclusion (Iverson, 2007). Although countering the individual level of oppression is important, fighting institutional oppression is also imperative (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 2007; Bishop, 2002; Kivel, 2002). Institutional and systemic oppression are often ignored in understandings of whiteness.