Recent scholarship in comparative and international education (CIE) has witnessed the emergence and consolidation of two competing viewpoints on positionality in the field. On one hand, critical scholars have drawn increasing attention to the ways in which CIE has been implicated in colonial projects, its connections to underpinning racist ideologies, and the ways in which these ideologies persist in current international education policy and practice. On the other hand, researchers reject these critical perspectives on the basis that they engage with “identity politics” or enable ‘cancel culture’ in CIE. While discussions of positionality and the politics of representation have been mainstreamed in other fields of social research, including educational research beyond CIE, the vitriolic reaction it has engendered in CIE is both remarkable and offer insights into the workings of the field. In this paper, we draw upon intellectual resources from anthropology, philosophy, international relations and other fields to better understand whiteness (and even white maleness) as a tacit organizing principle in the disciplinary identity of CIE. Specifically, we argue, the response has been to protect and further idolize a disciplinary identity that is overwhelmingly White, male, and largely silent on (or wilfully ignorant of) many relationships of domination that are directly relevant to educational research and practice.