(Ig)norance and Ignore-ing: Insufficient educator knowledge and (mis)interpretations of intention in the reproduction of racism and discrimination in higher education classrooms

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This article takes its point of departure in a human rights framework, which represents an internationally shared framework (or common denominator) for the interpretation of racism and discrimination. The article explores how understandings of discrimination and racism are expressed in 3 higher education cases, one is an online lecture by an American guest scholar at a Swedish university, and two are situations that arise in Danish professional higher education contexts. The cases describe the use of racializing and racist language connected to teaching about race, racism, and discrimination. I introduce a theoretical framing of gestures of ignorance and (ig)nore-ing, and discuss the cases in light of these gestures. I draw on a distinction between understanding racism as ideological or as systemic, and as connected intrinsically to power. I argue that everyday understandings of racism incorporate a (perhaps inadvertent) ideological racism perspective, which overlaps into anti-racism and anti-discrimination education practices. I argue that this overlap results in an overemphasis on intention when addressing racism and discrimination. Further, I consider how powered relations (teacher/student) in the classroom may further trouble education in racism and discrimination.
Bidragets oversatte titelUvidenhed eller når vi ikke ville ved af det...
TidsskriftHuman Rights Education Review
StatusAfsendt - jun. 2022


  • Discrimination
  • ignorance
  • Bias
  • racism
  • racist terminology
  • classroom communication
  • Higher Education