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Teaching Race/Teaching Whiteness: Transforming Colorblindness to Color Insight

39 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008  

Margalynne Joan Armstrong

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Stephanie M. Wildman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

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Abstract

This Article argues that whiteness operates as the normative foundation of most discussions of race. Legal educators often overlook the role of whiteness in the law school setting and in law more generally. Identifying and understanding whiteness should be an essential component of legal education. This Article considers reasons why legal education rarely addresses this normative role played by whiteness. An incomplete understanding of the nature of white privilege and the modern move toward "colorblindness" conceal the raced nature of much law. To draw the harmful operation of colorblindness into relief, this Article proposes adopting "color insight," which would admit that most of us do see race and underline the need to understand what that racial awareness might mean. This Article argues that color insight is particularly essential in the law school environment where legal educators need to ensure that students do not encounter race only by happenstance or believe race only affects people of color. This Article provides classroom techniques and institutional programming that would foster a more complete understanding of the function of race and whiteness in the law.

Suggested Citation

Armstrong, Margalynne Joan and Wildman, Stephanie M., Teaching Race/Teaching Whiteness: Transforming Colorblindness to Color Insight. Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-51; North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 86, No. 635, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1108476

Margalynne Joan Armstrong (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
(408) 554-4778 (Phone)

Stephanie M. Wildman

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-5350 (Phone)
408-554-5440 (Fax)

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