Engaging the pink elephant in the room
Lee, Najuana Prudencia
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Understanding art educators’ dispositions towards racially diverse populations and how those dispositions shape expectations and the treatment of students is a critical component in ensuring equality (equal treatment) and equity (fair and just treatment) in education. In this mixed-methods study, art education students participated in a semester-long social justice art education studio course, which focused on the critical examination of race and racism. Participants recontextualized their family histories and visually expressed themselves as racial and cultural beings while developing deeper insight into the ways in which race, culture and identity shape the perspective through which they view the world. The findings indicate that the course was effective in improving most of the participants’ implicit and explicit racial attitudes. Additionally, many participants expressed that their comfort level with the topic of race had improved. However, the findings also suggested that more time and prolonged exposure was needed to explore the subject matter in further detail. Hence, one course alone may not unseat deeply held beliefs.