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Critical Race Theory, Multicultural Education, the the Hidden Curriculum of Hegemony

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Nathan Kok

on 30 January 2014

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Transcript of Critical Race Theory, Multicultural Education, the the Hidden Curriculum of Hegemony

Critical Race Theory, Multicultural Education, and the
Hidden Curriculum of Hegemony

Multicultural Education

The Challenge of
Social Justice

Critical Race Theory


Part V -
After Party
Research interests include
Critical race theory in education,
Anti-biased and anti-racist education practice,
Culturally-responsive evaluation practices.
Michelle Bryan (Jay)
Biography: Michelle Bryan (Jay)
Part I -
1) Multicultural Education
Part II -
2) Critical Race Theory
3) Hegemony
Part III -
4) Hidden Curriculum
5) Hegemony & Multiculturalism
Part IV -
6) The Challenge of Social Justice
Part III -

“Supporters of multicultural education claim that, at the societal level,
its major goals are to reduce prejudice and discrimination
against oppressed groups,
to work toward equal opportunity and social justice
for all groups,
and to affect in equitable distribution of power
among members of different cultural groups.” (Jay, 2003, p. 3)

“Because it uses critical pedagogy as its underlying philosophy and focuses on knowledge, reflection, and action as the basis for social change, multicultural education promotes democratic principles of social justice.” (Nieto, 2000, p. 305 quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 4)

“Yet, despite the sound goals and aims of multicultural education, not to mention its 30-plus year history as a research field, it still
finds itself struggling to make a significant and substantial impact on the education received by American youth
. Although some significant advances have been made in adding multiethnic content to school textbooks and curriculums, multicultural education
remains on the margins rather than at the center of educational philosophy and practice
.” (Jay, 2003, p. 4)

“[T]he forms we actually find multicultural education taking today are of an “ideologically safe” nature. Curricular add-ons, special units for Black History or Women’s History month, sprinkled with “Heroes and Holidays” celebrations remain the staple of multicultural initiatives in the classroom.” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)
Glasses / Theoretical Framework / Theoretical Orientation
through which she views the failure of multicultural education.

Originating in the field of law, Critical Race Theory is at its core interested in
institutionalized racism

It looks at how engrained racism (White Privilege and White Supremacy) within the law has and continues to maintain White racial privilege and perpetuate the marginalization of visible minorities.

Within the field of education it has been
used to identify and analyze 'deep structures' of discrimination
- first in terms of race, and then into interlocking wheels of discrimination (eg. gender, sexual orientation).

Critical Race Theory highlights "aspects of education that maintain the marginal position and subordination of African American and Latino students.
CRT asked such questions as: What role do schools, school processes, and school structures play in the maintenance of racial, ethnic, and gender subordination?
” (Soloriano & Yosso, 2000, p. 42, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 5)

“[Critical race theory] highlights discrimination… and offers alternative visions, perspectives and policies that are based on placing race and its partial intersections with other areas of difference, e.g., ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, social class at the center of the remedies for changes in the current power relations in U.S. society” (Parker et al., 1998, p. 5, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 8)
This idea finds its origin in the early twentieth century work of the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci.

It posits that a

society's ruling class imposes and propagates their worldview

-beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores - as the cultural norm,

so as to justify the current social, political, and economic arrangement
as natural, inevitable, perpetual, and beneficial for everyone.

“Following this line of thought, then, a theoretical analysis utilizing the notion of hegemony is particularly useful in understanding the ways in which multicultural education is prevented from actualizing its goals and becoming a significant threat to that power structure” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)
Questions for Discussion

1) Michelle Bryan (Jay) discusses exclusively the United States of America. Does her critique hold more / less true in Canada? What are some theory - practice connections you can make from your own educational / work experience which may inform your opinion?

2) Last week we read an article with many similarities by Stienberg & Kincheloe, who are both White Americans. Is Michelle Bryan (Jay), as a Black American, better situated to forward this position? Does this 'racial' information make any difference?

3) This research is conceptual, integrating the work of many scholars in many fields, in order to come to new knowledge. As such it is somewhat removed from the actual day-to-day practices of education. In answering her challenge for a truly socially just multiculturalism, Michelle Bryan (Jay) three times calls for
intense and deliberate questioning
as one practical method for achieving this.

“[T]hey are a far cry from the deliberate questioning of power relations in society, interrogations of the persistence of racist, classist, and sexists systems of oppression, and the fervent quest for social justice that are associated with more critical forms of multicultural education.” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)
“[C]ritical interrogation… should be common practice for practitioners wishing to employ effective multicultural initiatives in their classroom” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)
“Transformative knowledge… seeks to challenge and to conflict, rather than to conform and consent… through a process of intentional questioning” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)

What are other practical methods we can employ to meet this challenge?
Jay, M. (2003). Critical race theory, multicultural education,
and the hidden curriculum of hegemony. Multicultural Perspectives: An Official Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education, 5(4), 3-9.



Part II -

Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina since 2006
Educational Background:
B.A. in American History & African American Studies -1996
M.A. in Teaching (Secondary Social Sciences) - 1998
Ph.D. in Culture, Curriculum and Change -2006
“Using the concept of hegemony as a tool for analysis, the author explicates the ways in which the hidden curriculum enables educational institutions to argue in support of multicultural initiatives while simultaneously suppressing multicultural education’s transformative possibilities.

Through its failure to appreciate the challenges posed by the hidden curriculum, multicultural education gets appropriated as a “hegemonic device” that secures a continued position of power and leadership for the dominant groups in society.”
(Jay, 2003, p. 3)
Part I -

Cognitive Tool

she uses to get to diagnose the failure of multicultural education.
How does it operate?
universalizing of the dominant groups’ interests
as the interests of society as a whole” (Jay, 2003, p. 7)
dynamic process of negotiation
between the dominant and subordinate classes.” (Jay, 2003, p. 7)
winning of the consent of subordinate groups
by the dominant one(s)" (Jay, 2003, p. 7)
In order to achieve successful multicultural education, that whihc embodies the essence of social justice, we must:

“[perform] a thorough interrogation of the hidden curriculum and educational institutions” (Jay, 2003, p. 4)
“undercover the ways in which the hidden curriculum functions in the daily routines, curricular content, and social relations in schools to prevent challenges, particularly those posed by multicultural education, to the dominant group and the group values, ideas, objectives, and agenda” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)

shift from a passive stance (reflection, identification, analysis) to an act of one (transformation)
if we are to affect the kind of change necessary to provide all students with the education they need to function in our ethnically and racially diverse nation” (Jay, 2003, p. 9)
4) What does Michelle Bryan (Jay) mean in saying:

“[L]inking critical race theory to multicultural education challenges us to see the primacy of race within the field of multicultural education and its dual nature as a problematic of the field and as problematic in the efforts to advance the field” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)
As Hegemonic Device
Hidden Curriculum

The hidden curriculum represents the
conscious and unconscious socialization of students through the “norms, values, and belief systems embedded in the curriculum, the school, and classroom life
, imparted to students through daily routines, curricular content, and social relationships” (Margolis, 2001, p. 6, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 7)

“[T]he values, ideas, objectives, and the cultural and political meanings of the dominant class... [are] widely dispersed through the hidden curriculum” (Jay, 2003, p. 7)

“I argue that
the hidden curriculum can serve as a hegemonic device for the purposes of securing
, for the ruling class (and other dominant groups in society),
the continued position of power and leadership
.” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)

"by acculturating students to the interest of the dominant group, and the students are encouraged and instructed, both explicitly and implicitly, to make those interest their own” (Jay, 2003, p. 7)
"[by] provid[ing] children of different classes in social groups with the knowledge and skills they will need to occupy their respective places in a labor force that is stratified by gender, class, and race."
"[by] distribut[ing] and legitimat[ing] forms of knowledge, values, language, and modes of style that constitute the dominant culture and interests” (Giroux, 1983, p. 258, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 7)
"[by] produc[ing] and legitimat[ing] the economic and ideological imperatives that underlie the state’s political power” (Giroux, 1983, p. 258, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 7)
"[by placing] emphasis... on cooperation and consensus, and... downplaying.... conflict as a basic social force in society” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)
"[by helping] keep current multicultural paradigms functioning in a manner that causes multicultural reforms to be “sucked back into the system,” rather than creating, “radically new paradigms that ensure justice.” (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995, p. 62 quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 4)
Hegemony & Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is stymied by hegemonic hidden curriculum in two ways:
A culture of consensus is fertile ground for hegemony.

“[T]he hidden curriculum comes into play, working tacitly to ensure that consensus is seen as a more valuable outcome for society” (Jay, 2003, p. 7)

“Internal dissension and conflict in society are viewed [in schools] as inherently antithetical to the smooth functioning of the social order” (Apple, 1990, p. 93, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 8)

“[T]here is a cautionary tale here…
if the majority of multicultural initiatives remain confined to the social studies classroom, and the classroom is one that supports “a pro-consensus and anti-dissension belief structure”, then we must understand that both the hidden and formal curriculum will continue to neutralize the transformational possibilities associated with multicultural education
, whatever form it takes” (Apple, 1990, p. 76, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 8)
Consensus Culture
Safe Harbours
“the multicultural paradigm currently popular in the United States options in a manner similar to civil rights law in that it is regularly subverted to benefit Whites” (paraphrase from Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995, in: Jay, 2003, p. 5)

“Consequently, they concluded their article by stating that, “as critical race theory scholars
we unabashedly reject a [multicultural] paradigm that attempts to be everything to everyone and constantly becomes nothing for anyone allowing the status quo to prevail
” (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995, p. 62, quoted in: Jay, 2003, p. 5)

Towards 'Critical Multiculturalism'
“[Critical multiculturalism] necessitates the attempt on the part of teachers and other cultural workers
to take back power from those educational, political and economic groups who have for far too long been able to shape school policy and curriculum in ways that harm students from low status groups
. In a critical multicultural school, students and their family members would study both how power shapes their lives and what they can do to resist its oppressive presence.” (Kincheloe & Steinberg, 1997, p. 28, quoted in Jay, 2003, p. 4)

Danger! (Possible Changes Ahead)
“[T]ransformative knowledge is dangerous. It threatens those dominant groups in our society who have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the mainstream academic knowledge that supports the maintenance of dominant structures, long-present inequalities, and the current power arrangements in the United States that often serve to subordinate racial minorities. Herein lies the heart of the matter – the intertwining of power and race the teaching of
transformative knowledge poses a serious threat to the dominant power structures
operating in American society that privileges Whites over all other racial groups.” (Jay, 2003, p. 5)

“Therefore, it would be irresponsible, if not downright naïve, to assume that those threatened by transformative knowledge intend to stand idly by while the system is challenged” (Jay, 2003, p. 5)
Critical Race Theorists React
“Rather, multicultural education becomes incorporated as a terrain on which those in power attempt to negotiate the “oppositional voices” of multiculturalist and multicultural educators, securing for themselves a continued position of leadership.
Multiculturalists’ “oppositional voices” are effectively channeled into “ideological safe harbors,” where they cannot disrupt the system.
In this way, the process of hegemony is sustained.” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)

“The result is an educational community that gets to pat its collective back for its multicultural efforts and for fostering an appearance of broad consensus (another manifestation of hegemony) for maintaining a place of prominence for multicultural education in the schools as an important goal.” (Jay, 2003, p. 6)

“[A]lthough they take steps towards challenging and altering the mainstream curriculum, multicultural efforts that take the form of curricular add-ons about the “Cultural Other” have their own embedded hidden curriculum. A major outcome of that hidden curriculum is the re-inscription of essentialized notions of culture and centralized representations of the members of cultural groups” (Jay, 2003, p. 8)
Part IV -
Full transcript