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.
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