Giftedness as Property: Troubling Whiteness, Wealth, and Gifted Education in the US


  • Katherine Cumings Mansfield Virginia Commonwealth University



gifted education, education policy, racism


The purposes of this article are to illumine the racist genealogy of gifted education policies and practices in the United States, to demonstrate how deficit discourses continue today, and to provide personal examples from the field of how educators can begin to question the status quo, resist taken-for-granted assumptions, and alternatively make substantive changes at the local level. I also aim to demonstrate how giftedness is an example of whiteness as property, or unearned white privilege, that, unintentionally or not, maintains a social caste system in schools.

Author Biography

Katherine Cumings Mansfield, Virginia Commonwealth University

Katherine Cumings Mansfield (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. Mansfield’s interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the history and politics of education and the relationship of class, gender, race/ethnicity, and religion on educational and vocational access and achievement. Mansfield is published in a variety of venues including: Educational Administration Quarterly, Education Policy Analysis Archives, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Educational Administration, Journal of Research on Leadership Education, and Journal of School Leadership. In 2012, Mansfield was awarded the "Leadership for Social Justice Dissertation Award," sponsored by the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Leadership for Social Justice Special Interest Group (SIG) and the "Selma Greenberg Outstanding Dissertation Award," sponsored by AERA's Research on Women and Education SIG. Mansfield is a first-generation college graduate with 20 years teaching and leadership experience throughout the P-20 pipeline. 




How to Cite

Mansfield, K. C. (2015). Giftedness as Property: Troubling Whiteness, Wealth, and Gifted Education in the US. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(1), 143–161.