Institutionalised whiteness, racial microaggressions and Black bodies out of place in Higher Education

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Abstract

On the morning of Friday 3rd February 2017, Femi Nylander - a Black Oxford alumnus - walked through the grounds of Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College. Later that morning a CCTV image of Femi was circulated to staff and students who were urged to ‘maintain vigilance’.
Whilst ‘post-racial’ ideology insists on framing such incidents as isolated aberrations bereft of wider structural and institutional context, in this article I draw upon the theoretical concepts of racial microaggressions and bodies out of place in order to disrupt this hegemonic interpretation.
Adopting the Critical Race Theory (CRT) method of counter-narrative, I centralise the voices of student campaigns as sites of legitimate experiential knowledge. These campaigns reveal a web of whiteness that undergirds Higher Education. It is this web, I argue, that ensnares Femi on the day in question. Thus, Femi’s experience cannot be understood in abstraction from structural white supremacy and institutionalised whiteness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWhiteness and Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019

Keywords

  • whiteness
  • racial microaggressions
  • bodies out of place
  • racism
  • Higher Education

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