Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Anti-racism, Anti-racism-Study and teaching, Civil rights workers-United States-Psychology, Whites-United States-Attitudes, United States-Race relations, Social justice-United States, Racism, Organizers, Racial justice, Education, Structural racism, Motivation, Hope, Experience, Racial identity development


This study was undertaken to explore the life experiences and motivating factors of White people who organize and educate for racial justice. The research was a qualitative study with a sample of 13 White self-indentified antiracists who spent at least five hours per week on antiracism work. Through face-to-face interviews, participants were asked to reflect on life experiences relevant to the development of an antiracist identity and to identify sources of hope and motivation in doing this challenging work. The findings of the study increase our understanding of what it means to be a White antiracist, the complex process of developing a White antiracist identity, and the many ways that Whites can work towards a more racially just world with the leadership of People of Color. Many of the participants pointed to the existence of structural racism within social services and the need for transformative changes in the way social workers understand and attempt to help oppressed communities. Through the powerful words of these White antiracist organizers and educators, this researcher hopes to increase awareness of the potentially destructive nature of social work (despite good intentions) and inspire White social work students to enact antiracist behavior by taking action for racial justice.




iii, 105 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 94-96)