Racialized Discourses: Writing Against an Essentialized Story About Racism
Keywords:race, racism, discourse analysis, research
This paper is concerned with the ethics of knowledge production when conducting research on racial injustice. The discussion draws upon my doctoral research, in which I interviewed 23 racialized social workers in Toronto, Canada, about their encounters with racism in the workplace. The discussion centres on my role as a racialized researcher and the effects of any assumed “insider-ness” on how I heard and interpreted participant narratives. Although the workers and I shared experiences of racism, I could not assume “sameness,” nor could I adopt an authentic voice about how racism is experienced. This paper examines the significance of producing research about racial domination, but argues for an anti-essentialist stance. I explore the ethical dilemmas involved through examining the dominant assumptions underlying insider research.
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