Whiteness as Giftedness: Racial Formation at an Urban High School
The article contributes to the understanding of racial formation by examining a magnet program for gifted students at an urban high school in California as a racial project.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 161-181
- Research question: The article contributes to the understanding of racial formation by examining a magnet program for gifted students at an urban high school in California as a racial project. How does the gifted program produce a notion of whiteness and synonymous with giftedness?
- White students were overrepresented in the gifted program.
- Latinos and Asians were slightly underrepresented and Blacks were greatly underrepresented.
- The research found practices that lead to exclusionary access to the gifted program.
- Study reveals process by which a desegregation program creates a discourse that equates whiteness with giftedness.
- School personnel construct a discourse of gifted students as in need of protection.
- There is limited contact between the magnet and non-magnet students.
- Students in and outside of the program, White and non-White, had varied responses to the discourse of whiteness as giftedness.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Desegregation, Gifted Education, Magnet Schools, Resegregation, Tracking, Voluntary Desegregation
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- The data are collected as part of an 18 month ethnographic study of a magnet program for gifted students in an urban CA high school. Participant observation is conducted at student meetings, in classes, sports events, parent activities, after school and during breaks.
- The author conducted 65 semi-structured, open-ended interviews w/approx equal numbers of students from all racial backgrounds about the racial climate at the school and its neighborhood. Nine of the interviews were in focus groups.
- Formal interviews were conducted with five key administrators, and ten teachers. Interviews (30 to 90 min) were audiotaped and transcribed. Informal conversations with students, teachers, administrators, counselors, security personnel, and other school staff were recorded in field notes. Pamphlets, school and district websites, and statistics and reports from the CA Dept of Ed were also used.