Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Whites-Race identity, Race awareness, Racism, White, White privilege, Consciousness, Awareness


This study was undertaken to explore the many ways in which a White person's consciousness changes due to their awareness of White privilege and racism. The research was a qualitative study with a sample of 12 White people who self identified as able to recognize the benefits of their White privilege, accepted their own role in perpetuating racism, were knowledgeable about racial, ethnic, and cultural differences, and are able to talk about race. Through phone interviews, participants were asked to reflect on their lives and offer their narrative of how learning about and accepting their White privilege and racism have changed their consciousness. The findings of the study increase our understanding of how White people's racial identity is formed, the complex emotions and stages that are part of this formation, and offer important guidance for other White people looking to join in anti-racism work. Many of the participants indicated focusing on one's own racism and privilege and finding allies and support were important and necessary for their White racial identity development. Through the stories of these White antiracism educators, practitioners, social workers, and community organizers, this researcher hopes to bring more attention to White privilege and racism, highlighting the importance of the subjects for social work, and give inspiring and helpful guidance to White social workers that are attempting to reflect on their White privilege and racism.




85 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-76)