The study, published by Physical Review Physics Education Research, claimed “whiteboards display written information for public consumption; they draw attention to themselves and in this case support the centering of an abstract representation and the person standing next to it, presenting.”
“They collaborate with white organizational culture, where ideas and experiences gain value (become more central) when written down,” the authors continued.
Whiteboards are an example of “whiteness” because “whiteness does not require actors be white in order to participate in whiteness, even if the benefits of participating may be conferred disproportionately to white or white-passing people,” the authors said.
Refusing to acknowledge the “invisible nature of whiteness is a primary means through which white dominance goes unchallenged” and noted that “making whiteness visible is one way to disrupt white dominance,” the study added.
The conclusion of the study is that when “students use whiteboards to display work, they are drawing attention to themselves that may portray characteristics of ‘whiteness.’”
One of the study’s authors, W. Tali Hariston, defended the study’s findings, arguing that while whiteboards are “not inherently racist,” the “common classroom object can perpetuate racism.”
“Whiteboards can be racist like how housing, employment, and the judicial systems were found to contain racist practices,” Hairston insisted. “Our findings support other studies that have found the study of physics to include racism and sexism.”