Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Second Advisor

David Donahue

Third Advisor

Stephanie Sears


Many white parents of white children (WPWC) do not know how to engage in conversations about race and racism with their children. Simultaneously, the lived realities of white identity are embodied and enacted in material and cultural terms in the lives of all white-identified folk who continue to be re-socialized into our dominant culture of white supremacy. As such, racism and white supremacy are taught through socialization via media, schooling, familial relationships and other social interactions (Harro, 2000). And as a result, whiteness and white supremacy are pervasive and endemic (Bell 2016; Delgado, & Stefanick, 2012; Ladson-Billings 2013, 2016; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995) and color-evasive1 ideology is a common phenomenon among white parents, especially those who believe that talking about race is racist (Annamma, 2017; Bonilla Silva, 2017; Underhill, 2018). In order to address race and racism, WPWC need to make a conscious choice to talk with our white children about race. White parents need to see one’s own children and the lives of children of color as connected. Scholar Zeus Leonardo quotes the words of McLaren and Torres, “whiteness is not a hopeless disease and may be rehabilitated” (McLaren & Torres, as cited in Leonardo, 2009, p. 98). This requires moving away from the “consumption” of diversity that maintains a body habitus via “happy talk” that celebrates diversity while avoiding social action, while simultaneously uncoupling from the individualistic narrative of success that pervades the United States and embracing a vision of collective liberation (Burke, 2017; Taylor, 2016, Crass, 2013). The purpose of this critical phenomenological qualitative study was to use in-depth interviews with White Parents of White Children (WPWC) to explore what they need in order to engage in conversations and actions to support increasing their racial literacy and anti-racist moves. Four main findings emerged from this study: The subtle pervasiveness of racism & how it gets perpetuated in family life; how different definitions of “racist” inform kinkeeping and what I have named the “Racial Justice Sandwich Generation”; there are varied yet concrete pathways of learning and support for parents, and that conceptualizing conversations about race and racism through a lens of love and collective liberation is a fundamental shift that allows WPWC to engage in ingoing dialogues about race.

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