Delpit, L. D.
The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other
Harvard Educational Review
, 58 (4), 280-298.
The “silenced dialogue” that Delpit explains in her article is the disconnect between
White, liberal (by this she means “those whose beliefs include striving for a society based upon
maximum individual freedom and autonomy”) educators and minority professors, teachers and
The minorities feel that the Whites, while they are well intentioned, do not listen,
, their concerns.
Whites believe they are reasonable and correct in their claims, but they
are unwilling to really try to understand what minorities are saying.
As a result, the minorities
stop talking, they take up the “smile and nod” approach, and therefore the dialogue becomes
By explaining what the issues are in this article, Delpit hopes to revive the
The problem, she feels, is that liberal Whites are not comfortable admitting that they are
in a position of power simply because they are White and middle-class.
This unwillingness to
acknowledge the power structure leads them to promote “child-centered, whole language, and
process approaches,” which, they believe, “are needed in order to allow a democratic state of
free, autonomous, empowered adults” (286).
By not acknowledging the power structure, these