discuss Whiteness and White racial training

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By Jerry V. Diller

Cultural Diversity: A Primer for the Human Services

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Understanding Racism, Prejudice, and White Privilege

Chapter 4

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Racism: Subordination of racial groups who have little power by members of a racial group with more social power

Prejudice and racism are different

Prejudice is an antipathy, or negative feelings that are held by a person or group about another group

Racism includes power differentials

It is the racial attitudes and behaviors of majority group members against minority group members

Defining and Contextualizing Racism

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Racism is a social phenomenon reinforced at all levels of society. It has three levels:

Individual racism: Beliefs an individual holds that support or perpetuate racism

Institutional racism: Societal institutions that are manipulated to favor whites and restrict people of color

Cultural racism: The belief that one culture’s way of doing things is superior to another’s

Defining and Contextualizing Racism

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People commonly deny, rationalize, and avoid the discussion of race and ethnicity because of the pain and anger involved

When these feelings become overwhelming, people put up barriers to the emotions associated with race and ethnicity

Emotional blocking may take the form of minimizing, justifying, or rationalizing the stories of people of color

Defining and Contextualizing Racism

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Individuals develop and retain racial prejudices because of simple human traits and tendencies:

People feel comfortable with those who are like them and suspicious of those who are different

People have a tendency to categorize, generalize, and oversimplify

Individual Racism and Prejudice

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Individuals develop and retain racial prejudices because of simple human traits and tendencies:

People develop beliefs that support their values and avoid those that challenge them

People have a tendency to scapegoat people who are vulnerable, and to rationalize their behaviors

Individual Racism and Prejudice

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“In-group” and “out-group” behavior

Sticking with one’s own kind, and separating from those who are different

Limits communication and increases misunderstanding

Traits Supporting Racism and Prejudice

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Categorical thinking

The natural organization of perceptions and experiences into cognitive categories applied to people and groups of people

Can be emotionally-charged, complex or simple, and can dictate behavior toward others

Traits Supporting Racism and Prejudice

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Stereotypes

The simplistic judgment of traits and habits as applying to all members of a group

Used to provide justification for exploitation or mistreatment

People have a tendency to avoid or reframe as exceptions any challenges to held stereotypes or categorical thinking

Traits Supporting Racism and Prejudice

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Frustration-aggression-displacement hypothesis

People accumulate frustration, which creates aggression/hostility, which may be displaced onto an accessible and vulnerable target

Displacement may be a function of projection

Psychological Theories Of Prejudice

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Authoritarian personality type

Prejudice stems from a specific personality type, rooted in personal insecurity and fear of difference

Type is characterized by dichotomous thinking, and moralistic, nationalistic, and authoritarian thinking

Psychological Theories Of Prejudice

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Rankism (Fuller, 2003)

Abuse and discrimination are rooted in power differences within ranks and hierarchies

Discrimination is used as a method securing or improving one’s own situation

Psychological Theories Of Prejudice

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Other theories attribute prejudice to:

The promotion of economic and political objectives and ensuring justifications

The desire to elevate one’s own self-esteem by regarding others as inferior

Compliance with social norms and traditions

Perceived differences in belief systems

Psychological Theories Of Prejudice

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Racial microaggressions

Daily indignities and slights that communicate hostility and racism

Commonly insidious rather than overt

Often are “hard-wired” and held unconsciously

Implicit bias

Racial biases that are held subconsciously and which are indicated in social neurology

Amygdala reacts to faces of out-group members

Microaggressions And Implicit Bias

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Individual racism is a common source or contributor to the problems of culturally diverse clients

Clients may suffer from issues related to direct experiences or indirect consequences of racism

Providers must be aware of prejudices to avoid misguiding clients and to ensure seeing the client as an individual

Implications For Providers

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Institutions: Societal networks that control the allocation of resources to individuals or groups

Includes the media, police, courts/jails, banks, schools, employers, healthcare, religious institutions, and government

Institutions have racism embedded in their bylaws, practices, and organizational culture

An effect of which is the ability of individuals to disavow personal responsibility

Institutional Racism

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The reports of the victims themselves are often rejected by those who have a desire to ignore racism

Determining Institutional Racism

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Institutional racism can be objectively realized by comparing the frequency of a phenomenon within a group to the frequency of the phenomenon within the general population

While certain cultural aspects may predispose a group to certain characteristics, stereotypes are often utilized to attribute the frequency of a phenomenon to characteristics of a group instead of institutional practices

Determining Institutional Racism

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Consciousness

People in a system may or may not be aware of the existence and impact of practices

Intent

Practices may or may not have been purposely created (e.g., de jure and de facto segregation)

Consciousness and intent do not justify the effects and consequences of institutional racism

Consciousness, Intent, and Denial

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Denial frequently coincides with institutional racism because:

Practices may precede individual tenure and the ability to challenge practices may be outside of one’s status or power

People feel powerless in large organizations

Institutions are naturally conservative and inclined to maintain status quo

Racist practices are often multiple, mutually reinforcing, and complicated

Consciousness, Intent, and Denial

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When clients cannot receive culturally competent services, providers’ work is drastically compromised

Client perceptions of the agency as a whole has an affect on the relationship between the client and the provider

If an agency has institutionally racist practices, clients will perceive providers as being responsible for such practices

Implications For Providers

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Institutional racism keeps people of color from accessing society’s institutions

Cultural racism makes them uncomfortable if they do gain entry

Institutions have own cultures, which individuals are expected to adopt

Established norms are generally based on dominant culture

Behaviors outside norms judged as bad or wrong

Cultural Racism

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Cultural racism is evident in:

Holidays and celebrations

Personal traits

Language

Standards of dress

Standards of beauty

Cultural icons

Cultural Racism

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Providers should be aware of cultural values they bring to the counseling session

Clients may act out frustration of the systemic negation of their cultural ways against a White service provider

Goals set in treatment and helping methods must make sense to the patient

Views of healing and the helping process differ between cultures

Implications For Providers

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White privilege: Set of benefits automatically provided to European Americans on the basis of skin color

Core component of daily White experience

Often not acknowledged or denied in order to avoid guilt or the relinquishing of privilege

May be invisible to European Americans, but is very visible to people of color

White Privilege

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Examples (McIntosh, 1989) include:

Never being asked to speak for all the members of one’s racial group

Turning on the television or consuming other media and seeing people of one’s own race widely represented

Taking a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers suspect the position was given based on one’s race

Typical Experiences Of Privileged Whites

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Unachieved attitudes

Those which are not thought through, or which lack commitment to any position

Avoidant: Ignore, minimize, or deny role of race in relation to their own identity and that of non-Whites

Dependent: Hold some position they have adopted from a significant other

Dissonant: Uncertain about their beliefs and open to new information

White Racial Attitude Types

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Achieved attitudes

Those which have been explored, committed to, and integrated into one’s belief system

Dominative: Believe the majority group should dominate

Conflictive: Oppose efforts to rectify effects of discrimination, but don’t support racism outright

Integrative: Understand their White identity and favor interracial contact and harmony

Reactive: Feel guilty for White identity and militantly oppose racism

White Racial Attitude Types

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Helm’s (1995) developmental process by which Whites can recognize and abandon their privilege

Consists of six statuses:

Contact status: Internalization of majority culture’s view of people of color, and the advantages of being White

Disintegration status: Anxiety associated with unresolved racial or moral issues that force one to choose between own-group loyalty and humanism; awareness that race matters and guilt about White privilege

White Racial Identity Development Model

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Helm’s (1995) developmental process by which Whites can recognize and abandon their privilege

Consists of six statuses:

Reintegration status: Idealization of one’s racial group and a concurrent rejection of other racial groups as an attempt to deal with discomfort

Pseudoindependence status: Development of intellectual acceptance of racial differences and a deceptive tolerance of other groups not yet integrated emotionally

White Racial Identity Development Model

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Helm’s (1995) developmental process by which Whites can recognize and abandon their privilege

Consists of six statuses:

Immersion/emersion status: Redefining one’s Whiteness, understanding White privilege, and searching for a personal understanding of racism; often prompted by personal rejection by People of Color

Autonomy status: Coming to peace with one’s own Whiteness and developing a positive socioracial-group commitment

White Racial Identity Development Model

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Ponterotto’s (1988) model of racial identity and consciousness development of Whites in a multicultural learning environment consists of four stages:

Pre-exposure: Student has given little thought to multicultural issues

Exposure: Students are frequently confronted with minorities and the realities of racism, stimulating anger and guilt

Identity Development In The Classroom

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Ponterotto’s (1988) model of racial identity and consciousness development of Whites in a multicultural learning environment consists of four stages:

Zealot-defensive: Reactions to the exposure stage come in the form of over-identification with minorities or distancing themselves from issues

Integration: Extremes of previous stage decrease in intensity resulting in interest, respect, and appreciation for role differences

Identity Development In The Classroom

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Whites can become cultural allies by playing a role in challenging oppression and creating alternatives

Cultural allies are characterized by (Thompson, 2005:

Awareness of white privilege

Willingness to take risks and to take a stand

A belief in the potential of minority groups

Knowledge about cultivating support from other allies

Honesty, humility in their expertise about other groups

Becoming a Cultural Ally

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White training

The way people are taught to be White

Includes seeking privilege and developing a perception of the “other”

Becoming White

Felt insecurity in racially mixed groups, immobility from shame in the face of racism, a loss of connection to spiritual or cultural roots and becoming a “culture vulture”

Doing the White Thing

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“UNtraining”

Groups of White people who get together to discuss Whiteness and White racial training

Doing the White Thing

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A fallacy exists for many White people that there are two types of people: racists and non-racists

In truth, all people have racial conditioning, and a denial of this fact is counterproductive

Colorblindness is a way of denying accountability and ignoring racism

It is more productive to practice building alliances and making inquiries

Doing the White Thing