Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee
Researchers across the engineering education research spectrum are investigating engineering and engineering education’s persistent racial homogeneity. Administrators and instructors alike talk about how they want their classrooms to be more racially diverse, and yet despite the herculean efforts of “minority in engineering” programs and the like, the needle has moved little. In this position paper, we describe a theoretical lens developed in critical race theory that has so far had little influence in engineering education to thinking about race although we consider it to have ample affordances. This lens is a theoretical framework developed by sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva called “color-blind racism,” and comprises 4 frames: abstract liberalism, cultural racism, naturalization, and minimization of racism. Because the author team sees great value in understanding how cultural values and practices associated with a US experience of Whiteness have been built into U.S. engineering education, we offer here an articulation of these frames, and illustrate each frame through a curated set of stories drawn from our experiences as K-12 students, as undergraduate engineering students, and as engineering faculty at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). We note some limitations of the color-blind racism theory as we have applied it, offer some practical applications of the theory to consider, and issue a call to action for both engineering education researchers and engineering instructors.
Pawley, A. L., & Mejia, J. A., & Revelo, R. A. (2018, June), Translating Theory on Color-blind Racism to an Engineering Education Context: Illustrations from the Field of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31161
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