Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story. Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
The National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institute, has put together this guide. Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. We are here to provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.
White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
Peggy McIntosh's papers on White Privilege are the ones most cited on the subject around the world, according to Google Scholar. Publications that have mentioned her work include the New Yorker (5/12/2014) and the Washington Post (1/22/2016). She insists, however, that her work is "about my experience, not about the experiences of all white people in all times and places and circumstances." We therefore present two of her papers on privilege, together with her piece titled, "Some Notes for Facilitators on Presenting My White Privilege Papers," in which she explains her intentions and offers suggestions for how to use this work in a classroom or other group setting.
Change is hard. Creating effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of power, privilege, supremacy and leadership is like any lifestyle change. Setting our intentions and adjusting what we spend our time doing is essential. It’s all about building new habits. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. For 21 days, do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity. Plan includes suggestions for readings, podcasts, videos, observations, and ways to form and deepen community connections.
Books and Articles in PSU Libraries
Please note that a PSU login will be required to access all of these resources off-campus and some of them on-campus.
Marc Lamont Hill and Todd Brewster weave four recent pivotal moments in America's racial divide into their disturbing historical context--starting with the killing of George Floyd. Seen and Unseen reveals the connections between our current news headlines and social media feeds and the country's long struggle against racism. Drawing on the powerful role of technology as a driver of history, identity, and racial consciousness, Seen and Unseen asks why, after so much video confirmation of police violence on people of color, it took the footage of George Floyd to trigger an overwhelming response of sympathy and outrage. In the vein of The New Jim Crow and Caste, Seen and Unseen incisively explores what connects our moment to the history of race in America but also what makes today different from the civil rights movements of the past and what it will ultimately take to push social justice forward.
Lynch mobs, chain gangs, and popular views of black southern criminals that defined the Jim Crow South are well known. We know less about the role of the urban North in shaping views of race and crime in American society. Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites--liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners--as indisputable proof of blacks' inferiority. In the heyday of "separate but equal," what else but pathology could explain black failure in the "land of opportunity"? The idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans' own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, Khalil Gibran Muhammad reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.
Racism is still very prevalent and pervasive in all aspects of the P-12 educational experience in the United States. Far too many teachers and administrators continue to respond to this challenge by applying colorblind perspectives and approaches. This edited volume provides a broad and comprehensive critique of colorblindness in various educational contexts.
A collection of essays weaving together theoretical insights from philosophy, sociology, economics, psychology, literature, and history, as well as the authors' personal narratives, to examine the forms and persistence of white privilege. Drawing from their diverse racial backgrounds and national origins, these scholars weave their theoretical insights into essays critically informed by personal narrative.
Given the immense harm inflicted on individuals and groups of color via prejudice and discrimination, it becomes imperative for our nation to begin the process of disrupting, dismantling, and disarming the constant onslaught of micro- and macroaggressions. For too long, acceptance, silence, passivity, and inaction have been the predominant, albeit ineffective, strategies for coping with microaggressions. Inaction does nothing but support and proliferate biased perpetrator behaviors which occur at individual, institutional and societal levels. This article introduces a new strategic framework developed for addressing microaggressions that moves beyond coping and survival to concrete action steps and dialogues that targets, allies, and bystanders can perform (microinterventions).
A groundbreaking work of feminist history and theory analyzing the complex relations between various forms of oppression. Ain't I a Woman examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women's movement, and black women's involvement with feminism.
The history of the women’s movements and women’s involvement in civic causes and actions shows that commitment to women’s causes is no guarantee that other human rights issues will be supported. Instances of racism and other prejudices that have impacted women’s groups in the United States will be used to illustrate the contradiction, and corollary patterns from the present will be used to show that the disconnect between promoting women’s causes and other pressing human rights issues remains.