White innocence as an investigative frame in a schooling context

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10 Scopus citations


Ineffective and oppressive schooling of people of color has been obstinate and widespread. Disinviting and hostile practices often engaged through written and oral discourses contribute to this condition. Thus, identifying such discourses becomes imperative to reversing these conditions and creating equitable schooling. This essay proposes the use of critical analysis of white innocence as a concept to investigate prejudicial schooling practices. Borrowing from legal studies, the author proposes analyzing the rhetoric of white innocence and its simultaneous opposite, person of color as perpetrator, as an investigative frame in the schooling context. In this work, white innocence is reviewed as a social representation that assists in making more transparent the unmarked standard of white supremacy. The essay first conceptualizes the rhetoric of white innocence. Then, a methodological framework of social cognition through discourse and its (re)production of social representations is offered and utilized to exemplify the manifestations of white innocence in a social studies context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-442
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019


  • Discourse
  • equity
  • schooling
  • social representation
  • white innocence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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