Learning to Teach About Race: The Racialized Experience of a South Asian American Feminist Educator


This article examines the intellectual and experiential journey of a South Asian American (SAA) feminist who teaches about race and anti-racist praxis in the United States. It starts with her struggles trying to teach about race through the lens of White privilege and ends by sharing her current teaching practices which foreground the concept of race as a learned identity. Her pedagogy, informed by Black feminist and postcolonial theory/Subaltern Studies and her research on the racialized experience of SAAs in the United States, challenges dominant notions of race in three ways, namely: (a) race is not a tangible, objective phenomenon, but rather a learned social construct open to varying attributions and interpretations; (b) the SAA racial identity disrupts the Black–White binary by adding a third racial category; and (c) religion may be treated as an attribute of race. Some of her strategies to complicate and disrupt the narrow and binary ways of thinking about race in the classroom are to (a) develop a common language of race; (b) include diverse voices and experiences beyond the binary conception of race; (c) decenter White, Western perspectives; and (d) rethink systems of domination beyond White privilege.

Publication Title

Adult Learning