The Limitations of Being a Good Antiracist


  • Pauli Badenhorst University of Texas Rio Grande Valle
  • Jenna Min Shim University of Wyoming


Race & Racism, Emotion, Psychoanalysis, Curriculum, Antiracism


In this paper, we take up our shared antiracist identity aspirations as teacher educators and investigate how complex racialized emotions generated in interracial encounters trouble the idealized object of a good antiracist identity. Utilizing redirected antiracist psychoanalytic method to parse stories created through collective memory work, persistent emotional defenses that diminish an ability to dismantle oppressive racist structures, both internal and external, are uncovered and theorized. Later, contrary to some transmissive curricular and pedagogical texts and discourses that prioritize resolve, the contours of a relational antiracist curriculum and pedagogy that welcomes and integrates ambivalent, ambiguous emotional dilemmas present and inevitable in racialized subjects across racial lines are discussed.

Author Biographies

Pauli Badenhorst, University of Texas Rio Grande Valle

Pauli Badenhorst is Assistant Professor in Teacher Education in the Department of Teaching & Learning at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  His scholarship engages race and ethnicity as relevant to teacher education, schools, and society, and explores the significance of memory, emotion, and embodiment for racialization processes and identity practices.  He is also focused on designing holistic epistemological frames to inform antiracism and intersectional teaching, learning, and curriculum. 

Jenna Min Shim, University of Wyoming

Jenna Min Shim is an Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Professor in the College of Education at the University of Wyoming.  Her research interests focus on psychoanalysis and education, anti-racist pedagogy, white racial identity work, and teacher education for English language learners.  Some of her works have appeared in journals like Curriculum Inquiry, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Journal of Philosophy and Education, Teaching and Teaching Education, and Journal of Teacher Education.