Whiteness in Racial Dialogue: A Discourse Analysis. Robin DiAngelo, PhD. Presentation Overview. Theoretical Overview The Problem The Study Findings Discussion Questions. Theoretical Overview of Racism.
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Robin DiAngelo, PhD
Racism encompasses economic, political, social, and cultural structures, actions, and beliefs that systematize and perpetuate an unequal distribution of privileges, resources, and power between white people and people of color (Hilliard, 1992)
“… the difficulty I always run into working with…white people is that they stop seeing some things as racist. It’s not necessarily someone hanging from a tree or being beaten out in the street, but an assumption, or all the white people going first or all the white people talking … how people identify themselves or present history, or the ways that they interact in groups and how they discuss things … things that to me are more powerful because they affect the situation that I'm in…”
(facilitator of color)
“As a white person, I find it difficult to say that I’m white. I don’t feel white. I think it’s a really strange blanket term that doesn’t… encompass anything about myself that I really relate to.”
“There's another level, though, that's below that, below the level of groups too, that's human. I'm sort of a spiritual person, and I guess I don't identify with being part of a group... But I also think that there are ways to transcend that - to be more in tune with what's human instead of what's only white.”
“I think it depends on the individual experience. And since we’re all speaking from personal experience… it’s a personal thing and we know what we have perceived... And so if that’s what you want to say, then that’s what you should be able to say.”
LAURA (POC): I did notice that some White people identify themselves with their class before they said they were White. Not everybody, but I did notice that with some.
TIFFANY (W): As a White person, I find it difficult to say that I’m White. I don’t feel White. I think it’s a really strange blanket term that doesn’t really encompass anything about myself that I really relate to. And I think it’s really arbitrary and strange, so I definitely have a hard time even articulating that word sometimes. I guess I have a hard time coughing that up. So I don’t- I- I say European-American because I feel more European than I do American; that’s for sure.
LAURA (POC): Well, one thing I was thinking was that you may not necessarily connect the word “White” with your experience, but people of color definitely think you’re White.
TIFFANY (W): Right.
LAURA (POC): And I notice your Whiteness.
TIFFANY (W): Mm-hmm. Right. Right. I-
LAURA (POC): And so that’s part of, like, taking ownership.
TIFFANY (W): I’m uncomfortable with the label “White” based on what I have learned that people of color perceive “White” to mean and represent. That’s what makes me uncomfortable with it. I don’t want to be classified as White when I know that with that comes a whole lot of, uh, angry history toward, you know, White people and- or, you know, crummy stereotypes that I don’t believe I fit into. So I’m uncomfortable being associated with what I perceive to be the common perception of what “White” is.
RICH (POC): But European-Americans are White.
TIFFANY (W): I mean, I guess I feel like-
RICH (POC): Well, she said that she felt comfortable identifying herself as a European-American. European-Americans are White. Columbus, Pizarro, all these guys that came from Italy and Spain and all over, um, they’re all White. They’re all European-American. When I- when I look at you, I see a White person.
TIFFANY (W): But the term “White” conjures up different feelings, I think, in people who are European-American, from my perspective.
“I don’t see color.”
“ We should live in a colorblind society”
“What they’re actually saying is:
I refuse to deal with how our culture and society treats people of color because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to understand how having a different skin color or ethnicity affects other people because that means I would have to think and consider other points of view. What I want is to not have to think. I prefer to believe I live in a fantasy land where no one ever pays attention to skin color, ethnicity, culture, or religion. I am part of the problem with race relations, not its great savior.”
Just so you know.
“the angry black woman” (http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com)
What effect do longer-term dialogues have? How is meaning made over time?
How do we prepare for sustained engagement?
What is the impact of MCEd
courses on SOC?
How do class and gender mediate racial discourse?FindingsFuture Research
Effect of multicultural education courses
The role of Personal Experience Discourse