This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Developing Critical Consciousness of ‘Nice’ Dysconscious Racism: An Analytic Autoethnography of a K-5 General Music Specialist at a High-Needs Title I School




Bell, Macy

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


The purpose of this analytic autoethnography was to explore how enacting critical consciousness (CC) through critical reflection, inquiry, discourse, and action developed my critical awareness of ‘nice’ dysconscious racism and has supported my disinvestment from whiteness over time in the various facets of my professional identity as a White female general music specialist at a high-needs, Title I school. The study was guided by the following central research question: How are the principles of an enacted CC—critical reflection, inquiry, discourse, and action—operationalized through analytic autoethnographic inquiry to develop my critical awareness of ‘nice’ dysconscious racism and support my disinvestment from whiteness over time? This dissertation found three major themes of dysconscious racism that formed the overall identity of the ‘nice’ White lady: (a) uncritical habits of mind, (b) institutionalized cultural scripts, and (c) tools of whiteness for maintaining White comfort. Disinvestment from the ‘nice’ White lady identity was a rigorous critically reflexive process that involved: (a) an evolving worldview in which I learned to sit with my own discomfort in order to grow; (b) the deliberate and critically conscious disruption of institutionalized cultural scripts and; (c) resistance to the ideological, emotional, and performative tools of whiteness through enacted critical consciousness.