Teaching Philosophy

Volume 39, Issue 4, December 2016

Andrew J. Pierce
Pages 507-530

Interest Convergence
An Alternative to White Privilege Models of Anti-Racist Pedagogy and Practice

In this paper, I offer a psychologically informed critique of and alternative to approaches to teaching issues of race and racial justice that are based on the recognition of white privilege. White privilege pedagogy, I argue, faces serious limitations avoided by a pedagogy grounded in “interest convergence.” Advanced by critical race theorist Derrick Bell, the theory of interest convergence holds that racial progress is most likely when the interests of whites converge with the interests of oppressed racial groups. Applying this insight to pedagogical practice, I argue that it has the potential to overcome white resistance to acknowledging and addressing racial injustice, in the classroom and in the broader public sphere. After making this case in general terms, I illustrate it concretely by describing an interest convergence-based approach to teaching affirmative action.