Rising Above Pain: An Autoethnographic Study on Teaching Social Justice as a Female Teacher of Color

  • Injeong Yoon
Keywords: female teacher of color in higher education, social justice art education, meta-autoethnography, Critical Race Feminism, whiteness


This autoethnographic study demonstrates my experiences of teaching social justice issues as a female teacher of color at a university in the Southwest. Based on Critical Race Feminism (CRF) and intersectionality, I explore the intricate layers of my social identities and positionality in relation to my teaching practices. The first finding highlights my sense of self-doubt and shame as an “Other” teacher. Next, I analyze whiteness and how it operated discursively and performatively in my classroom. I also discuss how I made sense of and dealt with whiteness particularly in the discussion of race. The third finding demonstrates resilience as a necessary process of becoming a CRF teacher. The conclusion addresses a few suggestions to translate the complex groundwork of CRF into classroom and community-based action as a way to disrupt oppressive norms. These suggestions include questioning the notion of safe classrooms, carefully examining the academic and pedagogical endeavors under the banner of diversity, and creating academic spaces for critical reflexivity on racial relations and theorization starting from the experiences of women of color.