Integrating fluid, responsive, and embodied ethics: unsettling the praxis of white settler CYC practitioners




MacKenzie, Kaz

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This thesis explores and seeks to unsettle the tenacity of white settler privilege in child and youth care (CYC). I first acknowledge the significant leadership of Indigenous and nonwhite activist-scholars to address the ongoing overrepresentation of Indigenous families across colonial systems in which CYC practitioners work. This qualitative study interrogates how white settler CYC practitioners approach issues of colonial and systemic racialized violence targeting Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. Experienced, politicized frontline practitioners working in the CYC field were invited to examine how they understand, name, reproduce, contest, and struggle with white settler privilege in their practice. My study findings are organized along four themes that attend to systemic issues and the difficulty of challenging dominant white norms and conventions in the CYC field: (1) working in colonial violence and racism; (2) white settler fragility; (3) power and privilege; and (4) troubling allyship in the CYC field. The findings explore the complex individual and collective ethical responsibilities of white settler CYC practitioners and formulate responsive, embodied ethics rooted in solidarity and an anticolonial, antiracist, intersectional praxis.



Unsettle, White privilege, settler privlege, white settler privilege, whiteness, white supremacy, praxis, cyc ethics