Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 2021 Issue »

    Is Complicity in Oppression a Privilege?

    Toward Social Justice Education as Mutual Aid

    The concept of privilege is widely used in social justice education to denote unearned advantages accrued by members of dominant groups through the oppression of subordinate groups. In this conceptual essay, Nicolas Tanchuk, Tomas Rocha, and Marc Kruse argue that an atomistic conception of advantage implicit in the discourse of privilege supports persistent inequity between groups contrary to the intentions of social justice educators. To solve this “problem of privilege,” the authors draw on themes in Black feminist and Indigenous thought to advance a reframing of the way educators teach advantage that is based in foundational relational responsibilities. This new frame, social justice education as mutual aid, retains the power to describe oppressive relations between groups while portraying oppression as disadvantageous to all.

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    Nicolas Tanchuk (https://orcid.org/ 0000-0002-5187-8003) is an assistant professor of social and cultural studies in education at Iowa State University, where he teaches courses on the philosophical foundations of educational research and teaching practice. He has an abiding interest in the relationship between ethical, political, and epistemic values in educational decision-making and in determining teachers’ professional responsibilities. Tanchuk’s work has appeared in the Journal of Philosophy of Education, Educational Theory, Philosophical Inquiry in Education, and Ethics and Education.

    Tomas Rocha (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1719-757) is an assistant professor in the Social and Cultural Foundations program in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He works broadly in the philosophy of education and has research projects and interests in ethics, social and political philosophy, social science methodology, ancient Greek philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. He is an associate editor of Lápiz, the journal of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society.

    Marc Kruse is an associate with Rees Dyck Rogala Law Offices, where he practices criminal defense representing youth and adult clients. His research interests focus on the relationship between philosophical ethics, political philosophy, and law, with special focus on the ways educational institutions can ameliorate or exacerbate legal problems. He has published work on the moral foundations of professional ethics, social justice education, and Indigenous educational ethics. Kruse completed his JD at the University of Manitoba, and he teaches Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR) courses at the University of Winnipeg on Indigenous people in Canada and the law. He is a member of Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan.
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    Fall 2021 Issue


    “What’s Going to Happen to Us?”
    Cultivating Partnerships with Immigrant Families in an Adverse Political Climate

    Book Notes

    Border Thinking
    Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepúlveda III

    Educating for Durable Solutions
    Christine Monaghan

    Schooling for Critical Consciousness
    Scott Seider and Daren Graves

    Charter School City
    Douglas N. Harris

    The Young Crusaders
    V. P. Franklin

    The Last Negroes at Harvard
    Kent Garrett and Jeanne Ellsworth