The Influence of the Awareness of White Privilege

by BChabot-Martin on Novembre 14, 2016 - 11:22pm

        Nathan R. Todd, Elizabeth A. McConnell and Racheal L. Suffrin’s (2014) study was interested in the links that can be drawn between the stance on White privilege, the different religious beliefs and the importance of social justice. When they first started their study, they based their hypothesis on many studies that had been previously done on related subjects and so concluded that the point of view about White privilege that was held by an individual could predict their intensity concerning social justice interest and commitment. They also believed that concerning religious belief, a sanctification of social justice could predict an interest in social justice and commitment and also an awareness of White privilege and addressing it. On the contrary, they predicted that religious conservatism would demonstrate an opposite association. To conduct this study, the authors requested the help of 500 undergraduates in a psychology class from a private Catholic University named DePaul. Students had to fill in a survey and the authors selected those who had identified as White and Catholic or Protestant. In the study, the following variables were considered. First, the social justice interest and commitment. Second, the awareness of White privilege. Third, the religious conservatism and also the sanctification of the social justice by members of the different Churches. And finally, the age, gender and if they were Catholic or Protestant. With all of these tools in hands, they did their study using a path analyses. The authors of this study found many results after playing around with the variables. The main findings were numerous. To start with, only the view of White privilege changed accordingly of the affiliation to religious groups or conservatism. Moreover, a disposition to reject White privilege showed indirect effects in the prediction of taking part in social justice through an interest of it, as well as a sanctification of it. The later variable showed that it had an indirect effect in predicting an involvement in social justice through an interest and religious conservatism. Conservatism was identify as predicting commitment to social justice through an interest of the cause. Finally, both an acknowledgment of White privilege and the granting of justice as having a holy value indirectly created an interest of justice through religious conservatism. After looking at all of these results collected by path analyses, the authors of the study arrived to final answers. The authors concluded that a disposition to reject White privilege would either come from or lead to a commitment and interest of social justice as well as a sanctification of it. Their second conclusion states that the awareness of White privilege was in no way correlated to having religious conservatism. With this, they could anticipate the rejection of interest and commitment to social justice when being more conservative. 


            The study conducted by Nathan, Elizabeth and Rachael on the relationship of White privilege awareness, religious beliefs and social justice beliefs was for me fascinating. I found a lot of value in this study for many reasons. First of all, it presented a very different view of White privilege and how an awareness of it can have impacts in all spheres of society. By presenting how religious beliefs play a role in how we see the world around us and therefore help our surrounding, it made me understand that an education on the issue of ‘’race’’ and racism can never be the same for everyone. It truly is important to know about the background of someone to have a real impact on crucial subjects. Also, it made me realise that White privilege really s not a worldly accepted concept, and the religious upbringing has an impact on this. This study, however, as pointed in the discussion part, only focuses on a very select sample of individuals. On this aspect, it is very limited and brings the question as to whether or not we can expand these results onto on entire society. If we take these results as true for all, then the education of individuals will be done accordingly, but we can not know for certain if it is an accurate assumption. In brief, this study is good as it gives tools to help the growth of our society and social justice and brings forward elements that need to be considered when people wish to make positive change in society.



Todd, R. Nathan, Elizabeth A. McConnell, & Racheal L. Suffrin (2014). The Role of Attitudes Toward White Privilege and Religious beliefs in Predicting Social Justice Interest and Commitment. American            Journal of Community Psychology, 53(1-2) 109-121. doi:

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