education philosopher

How Much Does Race Matter? (Documenting My Confusion)

Posted in Education, Philosophy of, social theory by KevinCK on March 24, 2010

Generally, I write when I have answers. This time, I am writing because I have questions.

I am a PhD student in education, but also a classical liberal. As an education student, I am often confronted with research on ethnic identity as it relates to pedagogy and scholastic achievement. It is not uncommon to hear folks talk about why teachers should take ‘multiculturalism’ classes to learn how to be responsive to students of different ethnic backgrounds. As a classical liberal, on the other hand, I firmly believe that ethnicity, while existent, is an irrelevant category for deciding how to treat others.

So, I hope by now one can understand my confusion. I have political and social beliefs that prohibit me from seeing ethnicity (and sometimes “culture”) as relevant grounds for differential treatment, but also hear so many colleagues devoting research to showing the large extent that ethnicity does differentiate. I am hesitant to say that my colleagues are wrong in their conclusions, as they are the ones who have studied the matter. But I am also hesitant to let go of a large conviction that I have that all people are people first, individuals second, and ethnicities at a distant third. (more…)

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