The Influence of Whiteness

by Purple Bird on November 16, 2016 - 10:53am

The Influence of Whiteness

Boatright-Horowitz, Frazier, Harps-Logan and Crockett’s (2013) study investigated the exposition of students to White privileges and the effects on their attitudes. First, in the article, it is said that white American people believe that racism is a concept that belongs to the past, that does not exist anymore in our contemporary world. Moreover, in predominantly white colleges, people of color who are experiencing overt and covert racism face psychological stress and are seen as complainers whenever they try to bring up the topic. Since being white is normalized, some white students believe that black people should just try fit in that type of society, where white people are privileged. In order to expose these students to the reality of White privileges and to reduce as well racism, the authors decided to conduct a study, which took place in a predominantly white school, involving 274 students who were taking a general psychology course: 214 whites and 66 colored people. To do so, the participants had to rate their levels of agreement towards the list of White privileges, written by McIntosh, through an online survey. After collecting the results, the authors found that white and colored people agreed on specific privileges that white people were beneficiating, such as those involving shopping, travelling and overall quality of life. The results also showed that the students’ view about racism had changed once exposed to the White privileges list and surveys. Furthermore, more students were willing to participate to activities and events that would reduce racism after being exposed to those privileges. In this study conducted by Boatright-Horowitz, Frazier, Harps-Logan and Crockett, students of color recognized that they might experience racism in areas regarding their future professional life, shopping and finding a house with nice neighbors. The biggest finding of this study was the acknowledgement from white people of the real existence of white privileges and their change of attitudes towards racism. To conclude, with their findings, the authors recommend to expose students to White privileges by teaching about it in order to sensitize people in general to racism.

In my opinion, on of the strong part of this article is the emphasis put on the different type of racism, covert and overt, which is discussed just before the study. I think it is important to acknowledge that even in our modern world, racism is still an issue that is perpetuated through false ideas and stereotypes. The consequences related to it are very serious, psychologically speaking, and have tremendous impact on the victims. I also liked the fact that compared to other articles, this study is actually proposing different solutions to reduce racism, instead of just stating the problems and why they are still problematic. Finally, I agree with the point made in the article about teaching White privileges, since it forces people to realize that in some ways, they might be advantaged by their skin color and that this type of discrimination will only exist if people socially agree with it and accept it.

 

Boatright-Horowitz, S.L., Crocket, N., Frazier, S., Harps-Logan, Y. (2013). Difficult times for college students of colour: teaching white students about White Privilege provides hope for change. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(7). 698-708. 10.1080/13562517.2013.836092.

Comments

I was first drawn to this article because of the title, “The Influence of Whiteness.” Whiteness is a very interesting and bold word to use in a title, so I wanted to see what this blog post entailed. I was also drawn to this post because I wanted to see the white privilege that was being described here. I am from a mostly white background, with my town being mostly white and my high school being mostly white. Where I am from, I believe there is some white privilege, just because of lack of minorities there. If one is a minority where I am from, life is just harder. This blog post states that shopping, traveling, and quality of life are white privileges. It also states that minorities have a harder time with their future in the professional world and finding a house with good neighbors. I believe this to be true. I think especially where I am from, it is harder for African Americans than whites to find jobs and to have a productive life. I believe that this is a broad, bold statement to say all whites have an advantage in this, but I think it is true. Another part of this blog post stated was that whites think that racism is a thing of the past. I think this is very false and that racism is still very prevalent in this nation. On all fronts, I think racism is around and will continue to be around for quite some time.

What drew me to this post was the Title, “The Influence of Whiteness.” This made me question, what is the influence of whiteness? When I read that the results of this research were that when white students were able to identify the privileges they had when it was laid out for them I was glad. Like you said in your response this provided a solution to prevent racism by letting white students know what their privileges were and could show sympathy for black students and begin to treat tem like they would anybody else. I have seen racism in my high school when my white friends were making fun of my black friend. I knew that my white friends did not understand they were making my black friend feel as if he was lower than them. Maybe if they were given this survey they would have been able to be more sensitive around him and give him the same amount of respect that they would give any other white person.

Your title is extremely intriguing mainly because the white community holds such tremendous influence over all aspects of society, and I feel like most of the time they (or we) do not even realize it. Many times I feel like white people or any group of non-African Americans are so quick to jump to the conclusion that when slavery ended so did racism but this is the farthest thing from the truth. The most prominent and recent example of this white privilege being cultivated is through social media in the most recent Presidential election. No matter where I went, what time, or what channel of social media, every other message was about how white, wealthy individuals had no idea what it felt like to feel marginalized or fearful of Donald Trump’s new term. Your point about proposing innovative solutions to racism instead of just talking about the issues I find extremely relatable and relevant. Even in my neighborhood, with no violence and great relationships, have filled with racial tensions post election. We have become so polarized, color against color, when it should be all colors against the system of racism! I think your points could be even further strengthened with a concrete example of this systemic issue, to actually show the conflict and provide possible solutions. Great job!

I was first drawn to this post by the title the word whiteness is definitely an attention grabber. One thing that stuck out was that it talked about how americans thought racism was a thing of the past and I must admit I believed we were moving past it as well but the results of our most current election lead me to believe we still have a lot of work to do as country. It was also interesting to see how much more willing people were to participate in events to reduce racism as soon as they realized what their privileges where, I think this shows that ignorance is really the root of the problem a majority of the time.

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