Date of Completion

4-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Department

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth A. Peterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Scipio A. J. Colin, III

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Brookfield and Dr. Mechthild Hart

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to learn about how race enters and then structures the narratives of our life experiences. Critical Race Theory (CRT) was used as a lens through which to examine learning autobiographies and the CRT methodology of counter-storytelling was used to illustrate the ways in which race enters and structures the stories of our lives.

The data consist of personal narratives written by adult students who were not asked to consider their life experiences from a racialized perspective. That resulted in a level of authenticity of their voices. Analyzing the learning autobiographies through a CRT lens and then employing the CRT method of counter-storytelling made issues of race, racism and white supremacy immediately evident in the juxtaposition of a story and a counter-story.

The findings are presented as stories and counter-stories using a compilation of the data. They suggest subtle yet very significant ways in which our experiences are racialized, the results of which often lead to very different subsequent experiences. Using Bell’s idea of applying allegory to present what I had learned, I created two chronicles, one of an African American woman and the other a White woman. The point/counter-point illuminated a look at seemingly normal, seemingly non-racialized, everyday experiences that played out in extraordinarily different ways, with race being the only significant difference between the two narratives.

 

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