Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Jeffrey Perrin

Second Advisor

Maureen Kavanaugh

Third Advisor

Kelvin Ramirez


The process of racial identity development (RID) is widely agreed to be the process by which an individual comes to understand the role race plays in their sense of self, how it influences their ability to acquire information and reach goals, how it affects their interpersonal interactions with others, and the manner in which it assigns group membership in the larger society. The formative years students spend in K-12 educational environments can play an important role in their RID; thus educators’ awareness of these developmental processes can potentially help dismantle the systems of inequity within a critical race theory framework that uplift whiteness in public schools in the United States. This study explored how white educators’ assessment of their own racial identity was influenced by participation in professional development focused on antiracism. Using the framework of Janet Helms’s (2020) theory of white RID, this qualitative case study examined four white public school educators’ experiences learning about and assessing their own RID as part of a 25-hour course focused on antiracism in education in an affluent suburb of the Northeastern United States. Through analysis of oral and written reflections, as well as a semi-structured interview after the course had ended, several themes emerged regarding how white educators assess their RID in these environments, including reflection on childhood and adolescence and exploration of parallel identities. The findings also yielded important indicators of the influence of antiracist professional development, including opportunities for reflection, explicit theoretical education, instructor vulnerability, and differentiation of learning experiences. Recommendations from this study include providing explicit instruction to educators in RID theories and prompting authentic reflection on the depth of relationships participants have with people of color, as well as on the intersection of their personal trauma and racial identity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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