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Taking a class called Ethnic and Cultural Awareness....

 
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aza



Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Philadelphia by way of DC

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 12:44 am    Post subject: Taking a class called Ethnic and Cultural Awareness.... Reply with quote

I am pursing my masters degree in Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy and I am taking a required course call Ethnic and Cultural Awareness. My professor is a white person and here is the most recent conversation about "white privilege". This was my response for the assignment and here is what he and my classmates wrote.


Me: In her book White Privilege (2002), Paula Rothenburg presents three critical essays which analyze “the ability of white people to create a world in their own image and a system of values that reinforce their power and privilege. At the same the same time because of their invisibility, it has helped foster the illusion that those who succeed do so because of their superior intelligence, their hard work or their drive...instead...of their privilege” (p. 2). Dyer (2002) concurs with Rothenberg’s assertion by presenting a strong argument that ingrained within the psyche of white people is this idea of superiority. To maintain this ideology, whiteness defines the norm. What the meaning of whiteness in American society suggests is that the value inherent in whiteness is based solely on the privilege and power it conveys to individuals (Dyer, 2002, p. 8).

The formation of white identity is not categorized by a particular cultural content, but draws on a hosts of cultural, ethnic, religious, and national cultures for its content; it cannot be marginalized into boxes of economic status, ethnicity, or national identity, but creates these boxes for non-white people. Leach, Behrens, and LaFleur (2002), present in their article an undated racial identity theory with developmental process for both White people and non-white people. Leach et al., makes the assertion that “underlying general racial identity theory proposes to account for the adaptation of both Whites and people of color to an environment in which societal resources are differentially allocated, where the former are assumed to be entitled to more and the latter less” (p. 67).

White people begin to become conscious of the moral dilemma that exists by being white as they simultaneously become conscious of the function of race in America and the privileges that are extended because one is phenotypically white. Rothenburg (2002), states “the invisible cannot be combated and as a result, privilege is allowed to perpetuate, regenerate, and re-create itself” (p. 89). Arminio (2001) compliments the argument put forth by Rothenberg by explaining that white people appreciate, enjoy, and hesitate to relinquish the privileges extended to them simply because they are white . Because some white people, typically white liberals and others who are racially and socially conscious, realize that the idea whiteness permeates a deeper core than race, and guarantees that one will not be mistreated on the basis of color, and guarantees certain privileges and rights that are not extended to non-white people, they began to develop feelings of what is labelled “white guilt”.

White guilt is a white person feels, thoughts, and attitudes towards racism, supremacy, imperialism, and other forms of oppression in relation to non-white people. Advocates of white guilt assert that while all white people are not necessarily racists, the society in which we live is premised upon racism [white supremacy] thus allowing white people to consciously and unconsciously invest in whiteness, and receive returns [benefits] on this investment.

Arminino (2001), suggests that guilt can sometime serves a psychologically productive emotion. This hold true in the case of race-related guilt where the experience is used to foster growth. Additional insinuations for counselors who provide diversity training and/or work with multicultural support groups in situations where a client has “presenting issues related to work, career transition, or interpersonal relationship might be struggling with race-related guilt” (p. 246).

Professor:
Aza:
Thanks for sharing. You made some good points and supported your position well. There are some significant problems with the cited author's positions. Evidence? Theory? Gross generalizations? Definitions? White covers some many different groups that it is almost meaningless. The terms Asian and Black have the same problem.

Classmate: I think your post quite informative and impressive. However, as one consider the disparity between the races and the added privileges that come with the white skin, should the contemporary white be guilty for this legacy for which they were responsible even though they benefit form it?

Me: Thank you! Yes, the learner believes that the contemporary whites should be responsible. If one benefits from the privileges that exist due to phentotype, then in the learners opinion, white people should have already eradicated, or be working towards the eradication of racial classifications and racism, which gives way to "white privilege". Guilt, should exists as long as they continue to benefit from being white and non-white continue to be mistreated on the basis of color. But other than words, the learner really has not evidence of white people wanting or attempting to give up their "white privilege".

Professor: If your position were totally accurate, we would still have slavery. There would be no Civil Rights Act, Voter Registration, Affirmative Action, Integrated schools, or a mixed race President. Has enough progress been made? No. Is there work to do? Yes.

Me: If my post were not correct, there would have been no need for a Civil Rights Act of 1957, 1964 and again in 65 since there was a Civil Rights Act of 1866, that again was law on paper, but no in practicality. There would have been no need for the rise of the Black Power movement, coming out of the Civil Rights Era had these laws been truly enacted. Additionally, even though in 1965 Black people were "given" the right to vote [which is crazy because allegedly, black people were deemed citizens], they are still in 2009 being disenfranchised. It took 203 years after the alleged abolishment of slavery to have a non-white president elected. Affirmative Action benefits white women more than non-white people. And even though blacks and whites are "allowed" to attend the same schools, you find that schools are still largely segregated especially in large cities, where schools attended by a majority of non-white students typically have substandard education and poor educational outcomes. So when you speak of progress what exactly does that mean? Does that mean that nonwhite people have become more and more colorblind? Does that mean that more laws have been written and not enacted? Are non-white people still being mistreated on the basis of color? Is the prison industrial complex not a modern-day version of chattel slavery?

What are you comments....
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Edward Williams
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello aza,

Did you have a question?
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aza



Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Philadelphia by way of DC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question was do you think that the professor is attempting to be deceptive? He poses as a "friend" to all people and claims that he is not a racists. Additionally, when asked his race, he stated mixed, while stating that his grandmother was the first woman to vote after the sufferage movement led by white females. I suspect he is a racist.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

aza wrote:
My question was do you think that the professor is attempting to be deceptive? He poses as a "friend" to all people and claims that he is not a racists. Additionally, when asked his race, he stated mixed, while stating that his grandmother was the first woman to vote after the sufferage movement led by white females. I suspect he is a racist.

Where in your discourse did you ask the professor if he or she is a white person? I did not see that.
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