White Schools, White Ignorance: Toward a Racially Responsive Pedagogy
Brandon Buck

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

A great deal of education research has cataloged ways that white norms in schools operate to disadvantage children of color. Such research has generated a wide variety of important educational responses designed to resist racist and unjust schooling practices. But, despite volumes of research and significant changes made to educational practice in schools populated by nonwhite students, there has been no commensurate reconfiguration of the way white children are educated.Building on Charles Mills’s research that develops an epistemological diagnosis of structural group-based “white ignorance,” this dissertation makes a case for why (and how) we need to seriously rethink ways that white children are educated in the United States. By theorizing a framework that places white-dominated schools at the center of critique, this dissertation shows how such schools are systematically reproducing white ignorance and its associated practices.The core question that motivates the research is: How can white schools in white communities operated predominantly by white educators and attended predominantly by white students function to disrupt and mitigate the production of white ignorance?This project advances a conception of racially responsive pedagogy, which represents a broad and sustained approach to educating white children, one that in many respects mirrors the scope and spirit of culturally responsive pedagogy in other contexts. The main thesis of this project is that a racially responsive pedagogy is a significant part of what is ultimately required to disrupt the proliferation of white ignorance in white-dominated schooling spaces and thereby mitigate white ignorance among white populations.
About Brandon Buck
Brandon Buck is Doctoral Fellow in philosophy and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His primary research interests include philosophy of race and anti-racist critical theory, social and political philosophy of education, and theories of justice in education. Most of his work aims to bridge empirical policy analysis and normative theory. While at Teachers College Brandon has worked as a research assistant with multiple faculty in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis. His sole- or co-authored research has appeared in The Urban Review, Educational Policy, and The Journal of Catholic Education. Brandon earned a BA in political economy at The College of Idaho and an MA in Educational Policy and Foundations at Marquette University. He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

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