PDF_Akom_CRT_YPAR

Published in: Handbook of Social Justice in Education. Eds: W. Ayers, T. Quinn, D. Stovall.

Full Title: Critical Race Theory Meets Youth Participatory Action Research: Creating a Community of Black Youth as Public Intellectuals

Abstract:
Time, Newsweek, Vogue, Cosmo, and other news and entertainment conglomerates have contributed to the hypervaluation of Whiteness and in doing so have attempted to create a collective memory of Black people as social problems rather than social partners. Movies, TV shows, and print ads romanticize Whiteness, pathologize Blackness and Raza, while rendering Asian and Indigenous popluations as invisible. In the post-Civil Rights era this has held constant, even during the 1990s and into the 21st Century, when a remarkable thing happened: Aspects of youth culture in general, and aspects of White and Asian youth culture in particular underwent a Black reincarnation via the hip hop aesthetic. Yet through it all, the visible and invisible representations of Whiteness remain quite remarkable; perhaps best symbolized by the “White House” and who occupies it, Disney World’s light skinned/mainly blue-eyed “heroes” and “sheroes” (Disney gives creatures blue eyes even when depicting the animal kingdom), Wall Street, or advanced placement classes (Akom 2001). Collectively these images, representations, and lived experiences have created a world where it “pays” to look (and act) like Snow White or Cinderella – even if you name is Pocahontas.