Doing race and ethnicity – exploring the lived experience of whiteness at a Danish Public School

Mette Kirstine Tørslev, Marie Louise Nørredam, Kathrine Vitus

Abstract

This article addresses race and ethnicity as social practices among young students at a Danish public sports school and explores how these practices engage with emotional well-being in the institutional context. The study is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in two school classes in 2012–2013 using multiple qualitative methods. Taking a phenomenological practice approach, the article addresses how racial (and ethnic) practices affect everyday school life. The analysis shows how a common-sense, habitual background of whiteness positions non-white bodies as different and ‘non-belonging’, thus shaping experiences of being ‘out of place’. These experiences are stressful to students in the study and foster a self-awareness that restrains the body from engaging habitually in the world and that obstructs emotional well-being. The article argues that a reluctance to acknowledge social practices as racial enables everyday racism while blocking the positions available to speak out against ethnic and racial discriminatory experiences.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftWhiteness and Education
Vol/bind1
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)137-148
ISSN2379-3406
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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