Cultural Competence Week: Leah Christina Neubauer and Annelise Noelle Smith on Critical Race Theory and Counter-narrative: Counter-Storytelling, Equity and Evaluation

We are Leah Christina Neubauer and Annelise Noelle Smith. Neubauer is based in DePaul’s MPH Program and is President of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA). Smith works for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

We are both interested in Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a theoretical and methodological orientation to promote racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender orientation equity and justice within our evaluations and our own practices.

This post highlights our AEA 2014 roundtable (#1153): Evaluation as (Counter)narrative: Using Critical Race Theory to Explore Connections Between Race, Relationships, and Evaluation. We share resources below and invite further dialogue.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Counter-narrative, Counter-story: What Stories Do Evaluations Capture? According to Delgado and Stefanic, counter-narratives or counter-storytelling aim to cast doubt on the validity of accepted premises or myths, especially ones held by the majority. Solórzano and Yosso offer the counter-story as a tool for exposing, analyzing, and challenging the majoritarian stories of racial privilege.
  1. Critical race methodology: Time & Space: In the context of evaluation, a critical race methodology includes time to seek AND space to hear the experiences and knowledge of people of color. Counter-narratives (by design) “counter” the “deficit-based-storytelling” that dominates the narratives of people of color.
  1. Counternarratives and Intersectionality: Solórzano and Yosso discuss how counter-narratives can be used as theoretical, methodological and pedagogical tools to challenge racism, sexism, and classism and work toward social justice. Both offer crucial focus on “the intersections of oppression because storytelling is racialized, gendered, and classed and these stories affect racialized, gendered, and classed communities” (p 31).
  1. Discourse is shaped by the heard – what about the unheard? As co-authors, our CRT interest is dominated by our personal multi-ethnic, transnational identities. Our interests in CRT branches – LatCrit and AsianCrit ­– illustrate that as these fields are evolving, so are the stories that will help to shape them. As cited by numerous CRT scholars and ourselves, we recognize the numerous untold and unheard counter-stories.

This week, we’re diving into issues of Cultural Competence in Evaluation with AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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