Not White Saviors, but Critical Scholars: The Need for Gifted Critical Race Theory

Not White Saviors, but Critical Scholars: The Need for Gifted Critical Race Theory

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8153-7.ch016
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Gifted Black and Brown students are not voiceless; their voices are suffocated under the knee of systemic racism and white supremacy. This chapter proposes that the field of gifted education advocates for needed structural and systemic change through the discourse of critical race theory. A model of gifted critical race studies (GTCrit) is presented and described as both a way to understand race and racism in gifted education and to drive social change. GTCrit theorizes about the ways in which race, racism, ability, potentiality, and deficit ideology are built into daily interactions and discourses, informal and formal policies and procedures, and systems and structures of education, which disproportionately impact students of color qualitatively differently than white students.
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Background: What Is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT) started in law and policy domains before being ushered into education by Billings and Tate (1995). Critical race theory scholarship is based on seeking answers to two essential understandings: “how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America, ...examin[ing] the relationship between that social structure and professed ideals such as ‘the rule of law’ and ‘equal protection’” (Crenshaw et al., 1995, p. xiii) and “second is a desire not merely to understand the vexed bond between law and racial power but to change it” (Crenshaw et al., 1995, p. xiii). Thus, critical race theory is both a research lens through which we work to understand systemic racism, and a tool for social justice and change. Gifted education stakeholders can work towards solutions to decades old problems in gifted education through-not another new fix-but by meaning-making and social justice, as accomplices, as co-conspirators, and as abolitionists, using CRT as a discourse for transformative change.

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