Achievement as white settler property: How the discourse of achievement gaps reproduces settler colonial constructions of race
Keywords:achievement gap, critical race theory, settler colonialism, critical discourse analysis, Ontario
Racialized narratives of academic ability, perpetuated by ahistorical interpretations of student performance data, have led to educational policies focusing on short-term solutions, instead of the ongoing legacies of racism and settler colonialism. The aim of this paper is to show how the racially defined achievement gap operates within the structure of settler colonialism. Informed by theories of settler colonialism (Tuck & Yang, 2012, Veracini, 2010) and critical race theory (Harris, 1993; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995), I closely examine some Toronto District School Board documents that address the so-called achievement and opportunity gaps. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper shows how the notion of achievement is racialized to protect white settler property rights, and how the discourse of achievement gaps functions as a settler technology to concurrently include and exclude individuals from the settler project. Understanding the settler colonial constructions of race brings to the foreground the relations between Indigenous erasure, anti-Blackness, and othering of racialized communities within the contemporary multicultural nation (Haque, 2012; Tuck & Gorlewski, 2016).
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Copyright (c) 2023 Diana M. Barrero Jaramillo
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