Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Anti-racism-Study and teaching, Whites-Race identity-Study and teaching, Cultural awareness, Racism-United States, UNtraining (Berkeley, Calif), White racial identity, Anti-racism pedagogy, Caucus groups


This exploratory study examined the impact of participating in White caucus groups with the UNtraining, a program based in Berkeley, California, on the racial identity formation of its participants. Twelve participants were interviewed and narrative data gathered. Participants were asked what shifts in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to their Whiteness, they recognized as a result of participating. Additionally, participants were asked to identify and critically reflect upon which pedagogical elements of the program influenced these shifts. Findings revealed that the relative emotional safety of an all White group, coupled with a supportive community of like-minded individuals, and a programmatic culture of risk taking and compassion, provided significant cognitive, affective, and behavioral shifts in participants. Two cognitive shifts were particularly noteworthy. The first was an internalization of the concept of White cultural conditioning and the second was an increased ability to cognitively hold the contradictory notion that Whites may harbor unintentional racism and be deeply committed to equity simultaneously. These shifts correlated with a decrease in feelings of guilt and shame, and an increase in compassion for themselves and other Whites. As a result of these shifts participants noted an increased ability and willingness to engage in dialogue about race and racism with other Whites and People of Color. This study indicates that White caucus groups may be an underutilized resource in anti-racism pedagogy, particularly for Whites seeking to develop and enact privilegecognizant White identities.




iii, 87 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 74-78)