The Invisibility of Whiteness

by AnnieB on November 15, 2016 - 2:19pm

Carrie’s (2014) study investigated the relationship between white students in an all-white high school and the concept of race. The researcher wanted to know how white high school students living in a suburban working-class neighborhood in the United States of America developed their social identity. She also wanted to see if the students were aware of their white privilege since the students considered themselves to be “normal”. She wanted to see if the students living in town where whiteness dominants, would be able to discuss the concept of race. The participants were white juniors at River City High School. There was 13 girls and 15 boys. The researchers found out that the white students believed themselves to be normal and non-white people to be abnormal. They did not know how to describe what normal meant to them but it was quite clear to the researcher that they were talking about whiteness. They also noticed that the students had trouble discussing about non-white people. Throughout the interviews, the students kept repeating that all the students attending their school was “normal” and the same. They say there is a lot of diversity in the school, but they are not able to give examples of diversity. The researcher say this is because when people live in a town that is a majority of white people, whiteness is not questioned because it is an unspoken factor. The author concluded that the students attending the River City High School considered themselves to be stereotypical American teenagers. The author also concluded that the students were at a disadvantage when it comes to the larger society. When they will leave this town to go to college, they will not be able to view themselves as normal sine race will be present. She also concluded that these students do not realize that they are white and they have privileges in this world. The students believe that their lives are the norm when in reality it is not.

Personally, I believe that this article has many merits. I believe that the fact that she shows how white people, living in a town where white people dominant, do not realize that they are white is a good aspect of this study. I find it interesting how they consider themselves to be the norm just because the majority of the town is white. I believe this study shows how much people need to be educated on the concept of race. Having students not know how to describe diversity or race is unbelievable for today’s society. Some drawbacks from this study is that the author does not really mention how the other 1.5% feel about this situation. She does mention that described themselves by mentioning their skin color, but I find this is not enough information. All in all, this was a good study that opened my eyes to something I hadn’t considered before.

Reference:

Freie, C. (2014). Average American teenager? White working-class high school students    navigate race, privilege and opportunity. Social Identities, 20(2/3), 123-138. doi: 10.1080/13504630.2014.881280

Comments

The post summary drew me to this post, because I saw a lot of parallels between the study’s environment and the environment in which I grew up. I grew up in a small town where the population was about 95% white, and in a High School of about 500 people there were only about 10 students of color. Above the lack of diversity, the community I grew up in was also very affluent. This post was truly one I could connect with and relate to. Growing up I never really thought about racism as a real issue because I didn’t ever see it, and I didn’t see it because there was nobody to discriminate against within the town. I never thought about going to such a non- diverse school was “weird” or a problem until I got to college. Just as this blog pointed out I thought my situation, and I was “normal” as bad as it may sound. Once I got to college I realized that not only is diversity a fact of life (which as much as it shames me to say I did not think of it as one), it is a benefit to my learning and living community. I love that I have been able to move on to a more diverse learning and living space, it has allowed me to realize the truth of my privilege and the truth behind the issue of racism in society. This post and the study it highlighted was so accurate to my life. It reinforced what I had already come to realize “white” is not the same as “normal”. Great job highlighting such a relatable article and reinforcing the points with your own experiences.

This article caught my eye because we are supposed to be color blind as far as a person’s skin color. Thus whiteness should be invisible. To paraphrase Martin Luther king Jr.’s speech: he dreamed that one day a man would be judged not by the color of his skin but by the character of his heart. Thus, when I saw the title I was drawn to it.
After reading the post I realized that this post was about kids in a race research project who thought that their whiteness was invisible. It was disappointing that they feel that way. Sure it is important to be proud of one’s heritage but to be completely oblivious to other people’s heritage and skin color is a little disheartening .It was troubling to see that the children has trouble talking about other races.This seem that these children were insulated from the outside world and to be wary and suspicious of other races.The children also had trepidation that when they leave their town they would have no sense of other races.
Diversity was an issue in this post. That was very unsettling.The students said that their community was diverse but could not give any examples of it.
After high expectations for this post through no fault of the poster, I came away very troubled and with a sense of woe after reading it.

The title of the post intrigued me because the only way I would be able to find out this "Invisibility of Whiteness" would be to click on the post and read it so that was a very clever title. I find it embarrassing and shocking that these high school juniors could think so close minded. It is safe to assume that if these 30 boys and girls think this way then the whole school and a majority of the entire town might have this mindset. It is however not entirely their fault. These kids have not been exposed to anything but their all-white town and they haven't experienced real diversity. I can relate to this post because my town fits this profile almost exactly: All white, suburban, middle class town, with few people of color. However the main difference between my town and this one in the study is that we all are aware of our privilege and we are very accepting of people of color and do not restrict the term "normal" to only white people. It amazes me that in 2016 people are still as narrow minded and ignorant as they are.

The title of the post intrigued me because the only way I would be able to find out this "Invisibility of Whiteness" would be to click on the post and read it so that was a very clever title. I find it embarrassing and shocking that these high school juniors could think so close minded. It is safe to assume that if these 30 boys and girls think this way then the whole school and a majority of the entire town might have this mindset. It is however not entirely their fault. These kids have not been exposed to anything but their all-white town and they haven't experienced real diversity. I can relate to this post because my town fits this profile almost exactly: All white, suburban, middle class town, with few people of color. However the main difference between my town and this one in the study is that we all are aware of our privilege and we are very accepting of people of color and do not restrict the term "normal" to only white people. It amazes me that in 2016 people are still as narrow minded and ignorant as they are.

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