Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Carolyn Shields


The attitudes of white teachers become a critically important aspect of racism and its dismantling. White teachers work within the institutions that have power to inspire and empower students and they have the tendency to hold the structures of the dominant society within their behaviours and actions. This study embraces a mixed method research design through surveys and semi-structured interviews to explore the attitudes that white teachers have towards their experiences with anti-racist initiatives. Teachers are able to either replicate and sustain social patterns of white hegemony or act as agents of change in combat of racism. As a force of educators, critical reflection and dismantling of the manifestations of white privilege within the classroom, are of utmost importance. This study emerges from a cultural and social context within unprecedented times of a global pandemic where the pervasiveness of racism is blatantly apparent in all functions of society. The deep racial and socioeconomic divides across the continent of North America, has inspired needed attention and change to approaches of educators in the foundations that build our societies, our educational institutions. This study, therefore, is both timely and contributes to literature related to white teacher perceptions of racism and its presence in school settings. It exposes work that is needed to be done to authentically stand in solidarity with marginalized students through continually contributing to positive racial identities. The findings of the data highlight one’s capacity to self-examine personal perceptions, biases, and reactions as a great force in movement for racial equity. Understanding the historical underpinnings of systemic racism has the authentic power to ignite passion to disrupt forces of oppression. There is an imperative need to support white teachers in building confidence with knowledge and terms relating to racism in support of teaching through an antiracist lens. This study inspires the need for white teachers to acknowledge the invisible embedment of white hegemonic power and work towards the dismantling of systemic racism.

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