An Epiphany of Privilege: A Critical Examination of Nigrescence, White Privilege, and Critical Pedagogy

  • Paul D Mencke Texas State University
Keywords: Critical pedagogy, Nigrescence, White privilege, Critical democrat


This essay explores White privilege in relationship to Black identity development and the education of youth through juxtaposition of the author’s White privilege and his bi-racial son’s nonprivilege. Through analysis of the exhaustive, yet mandatory, search to embody the stance of a “Critical Democrat” (Warren & Hytten, 2004) the author explores his son’s life through critical pedagogy and the expanded theory of nigrescence (NT-E) providing a critical analysis of society’s oppressive structure for Black males. Further inquiry demonstrates the dominant narrative’s detrimental impact on “successful” Black youth, and how the counternarrative can unveil the unequal power dynamics in America. Only then will the education of marginalized youth become a liberating experience.

Author Biography

Paul D Mencke, Texas State University
Paul D. Mencke received a PhD in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education from Washington State University, and currently teaches in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at Texas State University. As a social justice educator he is most passionate about moving critical theory into practice in settings such as “Open Mic Friday” events at a local high school, and an after-school teen program in San Antonio.
Creative Works & Self-Reflections