Tending to the Heart of Communities of Color: Towards Critical Race Teacher Activism

Cheryl E. Matias, Daniel D. Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies assert colorblindness flourishes when most urban teachers who are White feel emotionally uncomfortable to engage in dynamics of race in the classroom. Colorblind ideology distorts urban teaching because it presumes (a) many White teachers are missionaries trained to save and (b) urban schools are pathological deficits that need to be saved. We propose a community of color epistemological approach that draws from emotional strengths found inside urban communities of color and supports the pedagogical and emotional investment needed to (a) operate critical race activism inside urban classrooms and (b) disrupt the normalcy of Whiteness in schools. We present a counterstory of how one urban teacher engaged in critical race teacher activism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-625
Number of pages25
JournalUrban Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014


  • classroom
  • critical race theory
  • critical whiteness studies
  • educational foundation
  • leadership
  • teacher education
  • teaching
  • urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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