Destabilizing whiteness and black oppression in academe: a critical analysis of power, consciousness, and liberation

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Whiteness is a pernicious and pervasive problem deeply rooted in the fabric of public institutions and organizations. This article critically examines the intricate interplay between whiteness, black oppression, consciousness, power dynamics, and liberation within academe. The authors interrogate the historical and socio-political foundations of whiteness and its pervasive influence on systemic marginalization and oppression. We draw from Black studies, whiteness studies, and critical race theory to both theorize constructions of whiteness and analyze its impact on Black oppression in the academy. We advocate for shifts in institutional practice preceded by shifts in consciousness that would then influence behavior. We propose two alternative models to analyze whiteness: Framework 1: explores the nature of whiteness and white normativity as embedded in a paradigm that centers power in privilege, fear, and fragility; Framework 2 puts forth a liberatory vision, one that requires a shift from privilege to environmentally sustainable living, from fragility to internal resilience, and from fear to the decolonization of the mind. These frameworks call out and seek to disrupt oppressive structures, intending to decolonize and emancipate our minds and envision ways to dismantle and disentangle ourselves from blindly obeying norms perpetrated by whiteness.

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Administrative Theory and Praxis