Other Learning for Other'd Youth: An Examination of the US Institution of Education as an Artifact of Racial Oppression and the Teaching of Something Different for Black Youth

Juanita R. Range, Portland State University


This paper examines the US education system and its persistent and adverse impact on youth of color. I posit that structural racialization in the United States’ institution of education subjugates youth of color, promotes whiteness, and blackness through whiteness, and diminishes the education experience of Black youth, including self-perceptions. These dynamics are connected to youth of color in general; however,I place specific focus on African American youth in urban areas between ages of 11-13 years of age, which I refer to here forward, as Black youth. I connect theories and framework from multiple and intersecting disciplines to highlight how white supremacist ideologies and whiteness as performance within the US education system utilizes space, place, and power over, as oppressive agents against Black youth. Through geographies of exclusion,by means of overt and covert application, (Vanderbeck & Dunkely, 2004) space and place are employed in the US institution of education as vigorous components, not only in the marginalization and exclusion of Black Youth, but in the maintenance of whiteness as ‘power over’ knowledge (Jennings & Lynn, 2005).I also examine and apply critical race theory of education in several locations, in particular, as discussed by Dixon and Rousseau (2005), in their examination of “‘whiteness as property’”a tenet of CRT, and a further developed work originated by legal scholar Cheryl Harris (1993). Harris connects whiteness to power through space and place by reframing whiteness as non-tangible ‘property’ and connects its relationship with education. Through this ownership of space and place, whiteness is power through domination and normativity.