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Making Meaning of White Privilege

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Understanding the meaning of Whiteness and White Privilege

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Making Meaning of White Privilege

  1. 1. © Jacqueline Che, Roxanne Eisermann, Khalia Ii, Jasmine LeFever
  2. 2. What does it mean to be a Person of Color?
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ An ideology of white dominance that </li></ul><ul><li>marginalizes and oppresses people </li></ul><ul><li>of color, ensuring existing privileges for </li></ul><ul><li>white people in this country” </li></ul><ul><li>(McIntyre, 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning lies solely on the hierarchical placement advantage </li></ul><ul><li>it conveys </li></ul><ul><li>Constructed as the standard or norm against which all other </li></ul><ul><li>racial categories are measured. </li></ul><ul><li>(Dr. Derald Sue) </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Socialization </li></ul><ul><li>Inheritance Benefit </li></ul><ul><li>To have a stake </li></ul><ul><li>Denial </li></ul><ul><li>Unaware </li></ul><ul><li>Right Privilege </li></ul><ul><li>Possession </li></ul><ul><li>Human Being </li></ul><ul><li>Oppressor </li></ul><ul><li>More importantly, being a White American means living in a world of self-deception, “color blind” in the sense that you do not see that in this world your skin color is an asset while all other colors are a liability. </li></ul><ul><li>(Dr. Derald Sue) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>An institutional (rather than a personal) set of benefits associated with being white . </li></ul><ul><li>Name for the unearned advantages and benefits that accrue to “white” (or lighter skinned) people by virtue of a system that establishes the experiences, values, and perceptions of their group as the norm and what is most desired or esteemed . </li></ul><ul><li>Operates within an invisible veil of unspoken and protected secrecy. </li></ul><ul><li>Means not having to think about race all the time--the privilege to enjoy the benefits of whiteness without acknowledging those advantages and while denying that “race matters” </li></ul><ul><li>(Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins, 2 nd ed. </li></ul><ul><li>Race, Class, and Gender, pp. 41-46.) </li></ul><ul><li>(Dr. Sue) </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><ul><li>A societal goal; a concept that symbolizes the effort to deconstruct the meaning of race by highlighting their absence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Denies the existence of racial, ethnic, and cultural barriers in the larger society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. the seeking to systematically expunge from African-American students’ cultural repertoire those aspects of their group identity that might be associated with their African and African-American ancestry. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><ul><li>Whiteness = </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the real, normal humanity…? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 10. <ul><li>Whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently acknowledged and protected in American law. </li></ul><ul><li>Following the period of slavery and conquest, whiteness became the basis of racialized privilege </li></ul><ul><li>Whites as Citizens…Blacks as Others </li></ul>
  9. 11. <ul><ul><li>Slave Codes, enacted from 1680 through 1705 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bacon’s Rebellion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Civil War (1861– 1865) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Naturalization Act of 1870 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, 1892 (renewed in 1892 and in 1902) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court petitioned citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The tyranny of the Jim Crow era in American life (from Reconstruction through the 1960s) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. <ul><ul><li>No families for Chinese (1880's – 1914) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Dawes Land Allotment Act (1887) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Three Strikes You’re Out” in California (1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The passage of Proposition 209 (1996) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><ul><li>“ White” is a political term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ White privilege” is a relational term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ White” was originally a class term </li></ul></ul>A study of the historical origin of the term white suggests that:
  12. 17. <ul><li>Two Models: </li></ul>Helms, J.E. (1990) (Ed.). Black and White Racial Identity: Theory, Research and Practice. CT: Greenwood Press Status PEOPLE OF COLOR WHITE 1 Conformity Conformity 2 Dissonance Acceptance 3 Immersion Resistance 4 Emersion Retreat 5 Internalization Emergence 6 Integrative Awareness Integrative Awareness
  13. 19. <ul><li>And some people think, “Well, why bother ? All you’re going to get out of this experience is pain.” </li></ul><ul><li>I know it’s horrible. I feel bad about it. I wish it hadn’t happened. </li></ul><ul><li>What else am I supposed to do? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the legitimate role of White folks in social justice, and race, and related to race issues and racism? </li></ul><ul><li>I want to help. How can I help? How can I help promote change and equality for African Americans and for all people of color? And he just turned to me and said, </li></ul><ul><li>“ Educate your own people.” </li></ul><ul><li>I demonstrate my distance of Whiteness by rejecting my own group. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a theory that talks about racial context and that it needs to be between equals . </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to teach these White kids that they’re racist... You want to blame your own group . In other words, the way I connect with some sense of purity in myself is by rejecting my own community, which is the White community. </li></ul>
  14. 21. <ul><li>Using the experience of a white person as true for everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m not followed around in the store by a guard, what makes you think you are?” </li></ul><ul><li>Reinserting oneself into the conversation if it is felt that it has drifted to focus on a person of color or on an issue of others’ race. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t really think the issue is race as much </li></ul><ul><li>as it is class.” </li></ul>Kendall, F.2. (2001). Understanding White Privilege
  15. 22. <ul><li>Defining the parameters of “appropriate” conversation and communication. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’d like a “safe” space before I’ll feel open to talk about race and racism.” </li></ul>
  16. 23. <ul><li>“ You always focus on race. I remember at two meetings last year…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I know we have a way to go, but things have gotten better.” </li></ul>Kendall, F.2. (2001). Understanding White Privilege
  17. 24. <ul><li>Determine for yourself what issues may be at play without disempowering people of color for having a different point of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Kendall, F.2. (2001). Understanding White Privilege </li></ul><ul><li>Brazaitis, S.J. (2004). White women - Protectors of the Status quo, positioned to disrupt it. In S. Cytrynbaum and D. Noumair, (Eds.), Group Relations Reader 3 (pp. 99-116). Washington, D.C.: A.K. Rice Institute. </li></ul>
  18. 25. <ul><li>Let’s examine the lens which we view interactions with. </li></ul>
  19. 28. <ul><li>Know that exposing whiteness and white privilege will threaten your power and privilege too. </li></ul><ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>There is an opportunity for a shift to take place. </li></ul><ul><li>People of color can be freed of the “diversity expert” role. </li></ul>
  20. 29. <ul><li>Activity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make a list of 10 things you usually do during the week. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 31. <ul><li>What is your social responsibility to understand whiteness and white privilege? </li></ul><ul><li>What role does leadership play in all of this? </li></ul>

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