Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Antiracist Pedagogy

Antiracist Pedagogy

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning offers this webpage as a resource for instructors who want to learn about antiracist teaching practice and as a place to make ongoing Yale faculty antiracist efforts more visible, including our Faculty in Conversation series held during the academic year. At the Poorvu Center, we do not position ourselves as experts on antiracism; instead, we strive to learn and grow in our understanding of antiracist teaching in community and conversation with Yale instructors and experts in the field. We welcome suggestions for additional resources or future programming.

Because racism is structural, institutional, and systemic, being an antiracist is an active process of identifying and opposing racism in order to actively change the policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions (Kendi 2019). Experts tell us that at the classroom level, being an antiracist begins with examining one’s own pedagogy and curriculum in order to implement change. This process has the potential to expand to disciplinary, university, and community efforts, as Kyoko Kishimoto shares in her article, “Anti-racist Pedagogy: from Faculty’s Self-reflection to Organizing within and beyond the Classroom” (2018):

Yet, Anti-racist pedagogy is not about simply incorporating racial content into courses, curriculum, and discipline. It is also about how one teaches, even in courses where race is not the subject matter. It begins with the faculty’s awareness and self-reflection of their social position and leads to the application of this analysis not just in their teaching, but also in their discipline, research, and departmental, university, and community work. In other words, anti-racist pedagogy is an organizing effort for institutional and social change that is much broader than teaching in the classroom (Rodriguez and Drew 2009- 2014 and Phillips 2013).

Becoming an antiracist educator differs for each of us based on our power and privilege: the journey for White instructors is different than the one for instructors of color (Singh 2019). To be antiracist is to recognize the unearned power and privilege of some in our culture and to work to redistribute that power more equitably. This means going beyond inclusive teaching strategies to reconsider which voices are heard, who counts as an authority, and what kind of discourse is valued in the classroom. Inclusion is crucially important to teaching well, but antiracist educators also critically examine what they are inviting students to join. Just as faculty start in different places with regard to antiracist pedagogy, so do students. Some students are relatively unaware of power imbalances and microaggressions in the classroom while others are all too aware (and exhausted by) their personal experience of these forces.

There are many paths to implementing or strengthening antiracist pedagogy, including personal reflection about one's own subject position, relative level of power and privilege, and potential biases. While everyone’s process towards antiracist pedagogy varies, consideration of theoretical and evidence-based practices as well as hearing from colleagues are productive complements to self-reflection.

Further Exploration

As we have received additional recommendations for antiracist pedagogy resources, we have expanded this webpage into a series of webpages to better organize the content. The links below invite you to explore antiracist pedagogy further through reflective questions, potential ideas for teaching practice, as well as opportunities to learn from the insights and experiences of Yale faculty and other experts.

A series of reflective questions, teaching practices including ideas from Yale faculty, and relevant resources to accompany instructors as they consider their own approaches to antiracist pedagogy.
Join the Poorvu Center for a series of conversations featuring Yale faculty who will discuss some of the ways that they have incorporated antiracist pedagogy into their classroom practice, course design, and disciplines overall.
The Poorvu Center offers these suggested readings, websites, and other resources to support the development of antiracist teaching practices.