Tatum Talking About Race

Transcript

1 Talking about Race, Learning about The Application of Racism: Development Theory Racial Identity in the Classroom BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM Mount Holyoke College inclusion of race-related content in college courses often generates emotional responses The range from guilt and shame to anger and despair. in students that The discomfort associated these emotions can lead students to resist the learning process. Based on her experience with psychology of racism and an application of racial identity develop­ teaching a course on the three ment theory, Beverly Daniel Tatum identifies major sources of student resistance to well some strategies for overcoming this talking about race and learning about racism, as as resistance. As many educational institutions struggle to become more multicultural in terms staff, they also begin to examine of their students, faculty, and of cultural issues representation within their curriculum. This examination has evoked a growing number of courses that give specific consideration to the effect of variables such as race, class, and gender on human experience — an important trend that is re­ flected supported by the increasing availability of resource manuals for the and modification of course content (Bronstein & Quina, 1988; Hull, Scott, & Smith, 1982; Schuster & Van Dyne, 1985). attention has been given to the issues of process that in­ Unfortunately, less attention is focused on race, class, and/or evitably emerge in the classroom when gender. It is very difficult to talk about these concepts in a meaningful way without 1 talking and learning about racism, classism, and sexism. also The introduction of these of oppression often generates powerful emotional responses in stu- issues 1 A similar point could be made about other issues of oppression, such as anti-Semitism, homo­ phobia and heterosexism, ageism, and so on. Harvard Educational Review Vol. 62 No. 1 Spring 1992 Copyright © by President and Fellows of Harvard College 0017-8055/92/0200-0001$1.25/0 1

2 Harvard Educational Review dents range from guilt and shame to anger and despair. If not addressed, that these emotional responses can result in student resistance to oppression-related content areas. with the cognitive under­ Such resistance can ultimately interfere standing and mastery of the material. This resistance and potential interference is particularly common when specifically addressing of race and racism. issues Yet, when students are given the opportunity to explore race-related material in classroom responses are acknowledged a where both their affective and intellectual and addressed, their level of understanding is greatly enhanced. psycho­ article seeks to provide a framework for understanding students' This to race-related content and the student resistance that can result, logical responses well as some strategies for overcoming this resistance. It is informed by more as than a decade of experience as an African-American woman engaged in teaching psychology an undergraduate course on the racism, by thematic analyses of stu­ of dent journals and written for the racism class, and by an understanding and essays 1990). application of racial identity development theory (Helms, Setting the Context As a clinical psychologist with a research interest in racial identity development African-American youth raised in predominantly White communities, I among teaching about racism quite fortuitously. In 1980, while I was a began part-time lecturer in the Black Studies department of a large public university, I was invited course called Group Exploration of to teach a (Black Studies 2). A require­ Racism ment for Black Studies majors, the course had to be offered, yet the instructor who regularly taught the course was no longer affiliated with the institution. Armed with a folder full of handouts, old syllabi that the previous instructor left behind, a copy of White Awareness: for Anti-racism Training (Katz, 1978), and my Handbook course seemed to meet own clinical skills as a group facilitator, I constructed a that the goals already outlined in the course catalogue. Designed "to provide students with an understanding of the psychological causes and emotional reality of racism it appears in everyday life," the course incorporated the use of lectures, read­ as simulation exercises, group research projects, and extensive discussion ings, class psychological to help students explore the impact of racism on both the oppressor the oppressed. and Though were tentative, the results were powerful. The students my first efforts in my class, most of whom were White, repeatedly described the course in their evaluations as one of the most valuable educational experiences of their college careers. that helping students understand the ways in which I was convinced operates in their own lives, and they could do about it, was a social racism what that I should accept. The freedom to institute the course in the cur­ responsibility of the psychology departments in which I would eventually teach became riculum a personal condition of employment. I have successfully introduced the course in each new educational setting I have been in since leaving that university. Since 1980, I have taught the course (now called the Psychology of Racism) eighteen times, at three different institutions. Although each of these schools is very different — a large public university, a small state college, and a private, elite women's college — the challenges of teaching about racism in each setting have been more similar than different. 2

3 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY students (averaging In all of the settings, class size has been limited to thirty White twenty-four). in coedu­ and female Though typically predominantly (even cational settings), the class make-up has always been mixed in terms of both race taken and gender. The students of color who have the course include Asians and Latinos/as, but most frequently the students of color have been Black. Though most students have described themselves as middle class, all socioeconomic back­ (ranging from very poor to very have been represented over the grounds wealthy) years. The course has necessarily evolved in response to my own deepening awareness of the psychological legacy of racism and my expanding awareness of other forms of oppression, although the basic format has remained the same. Our weekly with movable chairs, arranged in a cir­ three-hour class meeting is held in a room The physical structure communicates an important premise of the cle. — course me. I expect the students to speak well as with each other as that with (timely completion of assignments, regular class atten­ My other expectations with the assump­ dance) are clearly communicated in our first class meeting, along that tions and guidelines for discussion work together. I rely upon to guide our the assumptions and guidelines are so central to the process of talking and Because learning about racism, it may be useful to outline them here. Working Assumptions 1. Racism, defined as a "system of advantage based on race" (see Wellman, 1977), is a pervasive aspect of U.S. socialization. It is virtually impossible to live in U.S. contemporary society and not be exposed to some aspect of the personal, cultural, and/or institutional manifestations of racism in our society. It is also as­ sumed that, as a result, all of us have received some misinformation about those disadvantaged by racism. groups 2. Prejudice, defined as a "preconceived judgment or opinion, often based on I as­ limited information," is clearly distinguished from racism (see Katz, 1978). sume that all of us may have prejudices as a result of the various cultural stereo­ types to which we have been exposed. Even when these preconceived ideas have positive associations (such as "Asian students are good in math"), they have nega­ effects because they deny a person's individuality. These tive may influ­ attitudes ence well as of Whites, and may af­ the individual behaviors of people of color as well fect intergroup as as intragroup interaction. However, a distinction must be made between the negative racial attitudes held by individuals of color and White individuals, because it is only the attitudes of Whites that routinely carry with them the social power inherent in the systematic cultural reinforcement and insti­ tutionalization of those racial prejudices. To distinguish the prejudices of students White that the former is acceptable of color from the racism of students is not to say and the is not; both are clearly problematic. The distinction is important, latter however, to identify the power differential between members of dominant and subordinate groups. 3. In the context of U.S. society, the system of advantage clearly operates to benefit Whites as a group. However, it is assumed that racism, like other forms of hurts members of the privileged group as well as those targeted by oppression, racism. While the impact of racism on Whites is clearly different from its impact on people of color, racism has negative ramifications for everyone. For example, 3

4 Harvard Educational Review some White students might remember the pain of having lost important relation­ because Black friends were ships not allowed to visit their homes. Others may ex­ at having been denied press experiences because access sadness to a broad range of segregation. These individuals often the discomfort or fear they social of attribute now experience in racially mixed settings to the cultural limitations of their youth. 4. Because of the prejudice and racism inherent in our environments when we that were what we were children, I assume we cannot be blamed for learning taught (intentionally or unintentionally). Yet as adults, we have a responsibility When we recognize that to try to identify and interrupt the cycle of oppression. we have been misinformed, we have a responsibility to seek out more accurate in­ formation and to adjust our behavior accordingly. 5. It is assumed that change, both individual and institutional, is possible. and unlearning prejudice and racism is a lifelong Understanding that may process have begun prior to enrolling in this and which will surely continue after class, Each of us may be at a different point in process, and I the course is over. that we will have mutual respect for each other, regardless of where we assume that one another to be. perceive To facilitate further our work together, I ask students to honor the following for our Specifically, I ask students to demonstrate their re­ guidelines discussion. for one another by honoring the confidentiality of the group. So that spect students may feel free to ask potentially awkward or embarrassing questions, or share race- related experiences, I ask that students refrain from making personal attributions when discussing the course content with their friends. I also discourage the use of "zaps," overt or covert put-downs often used as comic relief when someone is feel­ anxious about the content of the discussion. ing Finally, students are asked to from their own experience, to say, for example, "I think . . . " or "In my speak experience, I have found . . . " rather than generalizing their experience to others, as in "People say . . . ". Many students are reassured by the climate of safety that is created by these and find comfort in the nonblaming assumptions I outline for the class. guidelines my experience has been that most students, regardless of their Nevertheless, class and discuss, as is revealed ethnic background, still find racism a difficult topic to these journal comments class after the first by meeting (all names are written pseudonyms): The class is called Psychology of Racism, the atmosphere is friendly and open, yet I feel very closed in. I feel guilt and doubt well up inside of me. (Tiffany, a White woman) Class class seems rather large and dis­ has started on a good note thus far. The turbs me. In a of this nature, I expect there will be many painful and emo­ class tional moments. (Linda, an Asian woman) I am a little nervous that as one of the few students of color in the class people are going to be looking at me for answers, or whatever other The thought reasons. of this inhibits me a great deal. (Louise, an African-American woman) I had never thought about my social position as being totally dominant. There wasn't one area in which I wasn't in the dominant group. . . . I first felt embar­ rassed. . . . Through association alone I felt in many ways responsible for the un­ equal condition existing in the world. This made me feel like shrinking in a hole 4

5 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY where I was surrounded by 27 women and 2 men, one of whom was in a class Jewish. felt that all these people would be justified in and the other was Black I venting their anger upon me. After a short period, I realized that no one in the that exist. (Carl, a room was attacking or even blaming me for the conditions White man) though most of my students voluntarily enroll in the course as an elective, Even their anxiety and subsequent resistance to learning about racism quickly emerge. of Resistance Sources In predominantly White college classrooms, I have experienced at least three major sources of student resistance to talking and learning about race and racism. They can be readily identified as the following: discussion, 1. Race is considered a taboo topic for especially in racially mixed settings. 2. Many students, regardless of racial-group membership, have been socialized to think of the United States as a just society. 3. Many students, particularly White students, initially deny any personal prejudice, recognizing the impact of racism on other people's lives, but failing to acknowledge its impact on their own. Race as Taboo Topic first source of resistance, race as a taboo topic, is an essential obstacle to over­ The if class come is to begin at all. Although many students are interested discussion in the topic, they are often most interested in hearing other people about it, talk afraid to break the taboo themselves. One source of this can be seen in the early childhood experi­ self-consciousness ences of many students. It is known that children as young as three notice racial differences (see Phinney & Rotheram, 1987). Certainly preschoolers talk about what they see. Unfortunately, they often do so in ways make adults uncom­ that Imagine the following scenario: A White child in a public place points fortable. boy to a dark-skinned African-American child and says loudly, "Why is that Black?" The embarrassed parent quickly "Sh! Don't say that." The child responds, only attempting to make sense of a new observation (Derman-Sparks, is & Higa, Sparks, yet the parent's attempt to silence the perplexed child sends a mes­ 1980), that this observation is not okay to talk about. White children quickly become sage aware that their questions about race raise adult anxiety, and as a result, they learn not to ask the questions. When asked to reflect on their earliest race-related memories and the feelings with them, both White students and students of color often report feel­ associated ings of anxiety, and/or fear. Students of color often have early memo­ confusion, ries of name-calling or other negative interactions with other children, and some­ times with adults. They also report having had questions that went both unasked and unanswered. In addition, many students have had uncomfortable inter­ changes around race-related topics as adults. When asked at the beginning of the semester, "How many of you have had difficult, perhaps heated conversations with 5

6 Harvard Educational Review someone class raises on a race-related topic?", routinely almost everyone in the or her hand. It should come as no surprise then that his students often approach both curiosity and trepidation. the topic of race and/or racism with Myth of the Meritocracy The second source of student resistance to be discussed here is rooted in students' The that the United States is a just society, a meritocracy where individual ef­ belief forts are fairly rewarded. While some students (particularly students of color) may that already have become disillusioned with notion of the United States, the ma­ of my students who have experienced at least the personal of college jority success faith still have extent that these students acceptance in this notion. To the that acknowledge racism exists, they tend to view it as an individual phenomenon, rooted in the attitudes of the "Archie Bunkers" of the world or located only in par­ ticular parts of the country. After several atti­ class meetings, Karen, a White woman, acknowledged this tude in her journal: one point in my life At the beginning of this class — I actually perceived America — that to be a relatively racist free society. I thought were racist or the people who subjected were found only in small pockets of the U.S., such to racist stereotypes as the South. As I've come to realize, racism (or at least racially orientated stereo­ types) is rampant. An understanding of racism as a system of advantage presents a serious chal­ lenge to the notion of the United States as a just society where rewards are based solely on one's merit. Such a challenge often creates discomfort in students. The old adage "ignorance is seems to hold true in this case; students are not bliss" eager to recognize the painful reality of racism. necessarily common response to the discomfort is to engage in denial of what they are One learning. White students in particular may question the accuracy or currency of statistical information regarding the prevalence of discrimination (housing, em­ access to health care, and so on). More qualitative data, such as auto­ ployment, accounts of experiences biographical racism, may be challenged on the basis with of their subjectivity. It should be pointed out that that the United States is a the basic assumption just society for all is only one of many basic assumptions that might be challenged in the learning process. Another example can be seen in an interchange between two White students following a discussion about cultural racism, in which the or distortion of historical information about people of color was offered omission an example of the cultural transmission of racism. as I just found out that Cleopatra was actually a Black woman." "Yeah, "What?" The first student went on to explain her newly learned information. Finally, the second student exclaimed in disbelief, "That can't be true. Cleopatra was beauti­ ful!" This new information and her own deeply ingrained assumptions about who is were too incongruous to allow her to assimilate the in­ beautiful and who is not formation at that moment. If outright denial of information is not possible, then withdrawal may be. Physi­ cal withdrawal in the form of absenteeism is one possible result; it is for precisely 6

7 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY class attendance is mandatory. The reduction in the completion this reason that assignments is another form of withdrawal. I have found written of reading and/or that I now alert students to this possibility at the this response to be so common that this response is a common one seems to beginning of the semester. Knowing help students stay engaged, even when they experience the desire to withdraw. an absence in the fifth week of the semester, one White student wrote, Following "I think I've hit the point you talked about, the point where you don't want to hear any more about racism. I sometimes begin to get the feeling we are all hypersensi­ "Class is getting better. I think I am beginning tive." (Two weeks later she wrote, to get over my hump.") Perhaps not surprisingly, this response can be found in both White students and discussion of racism some students of color. Students of color often enter a with based on personal experiences. However, even these issue, awareness of the stu­ dents find that they did not have a full understanding of the widespread impact of racism in our society. For students who are targeted by racism, an increased awareness of the impact in and on their lives is painful, and often generates anger. Four Louise, an African-American woman, wrote in weeks into the semester, her journal about her own heightened sensitivity: Many times in I feel uncomfortable when White students use the term Black class because even if they aren't aware of it they say it with all or at least a lot of the negative connotations they've been taught goes along with Black. Sometimes it just causes a stinging feeling inside of me. Sometimes I get real tired of hearing White people about the conditions of Black people. I think it's an important talk talk about, but still I don't always like being around when they thing for them to talk about how hard it is for them, though do it. I also get tired of hearing them I understand it, and most times I am very willing to listen and be open, but some­ times I can't. Right now I can't. For White students, advantaged by racism, a heightened awareness of it often generates painful feelings of guilt. The following responses are typical: After reading the article about privilege, I felt very guilty. (Rachel, a White woman) Questions of racism are so full of anger and pain. When I think of all the pain White people have caused people of color, I get a feeling of guilt. How could like myself care so much about the color of someone's skin that they someone would do them harm? (Terri, a White woman) White students also sometimes express a sense of betrayal when they realize the gaps in their own education about racism. After seeing the first episode of the documentary series Eyes Chris, a White man, wrote: on the Prize, that bad just 35 years ago. Why didn't I learn this in I never knew it was really school? Could it be that the White people of America want elementary or high to forget this injustice? . . . I will never forget that movie for as long as I live. It was like a big slap in the face. a White woman, also felt anger and embarrassment in response to her Barbara, own previous lack of information about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. She wrote: 7

8 Harvard Educational Review I feel so stupid because I never even knew these existed. I never knew that that Japanese were treated so poorly. I am becoming angry and upset about all of the I do not know. I have been so sheltered. My parents never wanted that the things that have happened in the world. After I saw to let me know about the bad things the movie (Mitsuye and Nellie), I even called them up to ask them why they never told me this. . . . I am angry at them too for not teaching me and exposing me to the complete picture of my country. Avoiding the subject matter is one way to avoid these uncomfortable feelings. "I'm Not Racist, But . . . " third source of student resistance (particularly among White students) is the A initial denial of any personal connection to racism. When asked why they have decided to enroll in a course on racism, White students typically explain their in­ terest in the topic with such disclaimers as, "I'm not racist myself, but I know who are, and I people to understand them better." want Because racism, students of color do not typi­ of their position as the targets of focus on their own prejudices or lack of them. Instead they usually express cally a desire to understand why racism exists, and how they have been affected by it. However, as all students gain a better grasp of what racism is and its many man­ ifestations in U.S. society, they inevitably start to recognize its legacy within themselves. Beliefs, attitudes, and actions based on racial stereotypes begin to be remembered and are newly observed by White students. Students of color as well often recognize negative attitudes they may have internalized about their own ra­ cial that they have believed about others. Those who previously thought group or themselves immune to the effects of growing up in a racist society often find them­ selves reliving uncomfortable feelings of guilt or anger. After taping her own responses to a questionnaire on racial attitudes, Barbara, a White woman previously quoted, wrote: I always want to think of myself as open to all races. Yet when I did the interview to myself, I found that respond differently to the same questions about differ­ I did races. that I would have. I would have denied ent No one could ever have told me it. But I found that I did respond differently even though I didn't want to. This with myself because really upset me. I was angry I thought I was not prejudiced and that I had created had an impact on the answers that I yet the stereotypes want it to happen. gave even though I didn't The new self-awareness, represented here by Barbara's journal entry, changes the classroom dynamic. One common result is that some White students, once perhaps active participants in discussion, now hesitate to continue their parti­ class cipation that their newly recognized racism will be revealed to others. for fear Today I did feel guilty, and like I had to watch what I was saying (make it good enough), I guess to prove I'm really not prejudiced. From the conversations the first day, I guess this is a normal enough reaction, but I certainly never expected it in me. (Joanne, a White woman) This withdrawal on the part of White students is often paralleled by an increase in participation by students of color who are seeking an outlet for what are often feelings of anger. The withdrawal of some previously vocal White students from 8

9 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY sometimes interpreted by students of color the classroom exchange, however, is to fuel anger and frus­ as indifference. This perceived indifference often serves the of oppres­ as awareness of their own many students tration that color experience, For example, Robert, an African-American man, wrote: is sion heightened. the White students would talk more. When I read these articles, it I really wish mad and I really want to know what the White kids think. Don't they makes me so care? a described the classroom tension from another perspective: Sonia, Latina, to comment that at many points in the I I have felt uncom­ would like discussions with people. I guess I am at the stage where fortable and sometimes even angry am tired of listening to Whites feel guilty and watch their eyes I up with tears. fill I do that everyone is at their own stage of development and I even understand myself every Tuesday that to this class by choice. tell these people have come I to . . . It takes courage days say things Some am just more tolerant than others. room that so many women of color present. It also takes courage for the in with of color to say things about Whites. women to be in the What seems classroom at such moments is a collision of happening processes can be inherently useful for the racial identity devel­ developmental that of the individuals involved. Nevertheless, the interaction may be opment per­ ceived problematic to instructors and as who are unfamiliar with the students process. Although space does not allow for an exhaustive discussion of racial iden­ tity development theory, brief explication of it here will provide additional clar­ a the classroom dynamics when of race are discussed. It will also ity regarding issues theoretical framework dealing strategies for a with student resis­ provide for the will be discussed at the conclusion of this article. tance that of Racial Identity Development Stages identity and racial identity development theory defined by Janet Helms Racial are (1990) as perception group or collective identity based on one's of that he or she shares a sense with a particular racial group. . . a common racial heritage racial identity develop­ ment theory the psychological implications of racial-group membership, concerns reaction is belief that evolve in systems to perceived differential racial-group that membership. (p. 3) It is assumed that in a society where racial-group membership is emphasized, the development of a will occur in some form in everyone. Given racial identity of color and people of the dominant/subordinate relationship in this soci­ Whites it is not surprising that this developmental process will unfold in dif­ ety, however, ferent ways. For purposes of this discussion, William Cross's (1971, 1978) model of Black identity development will described along with Helms's (1990) model be of White racial identity development theory. While identity development of the other students (Asian, Latino/a, Native American) is not included in this particu­ lar theoretical formulation, there is evidence to suggest that the process for these that oppressed is similar to groups described for African Americans (Highlen, et 9

10 Harvard Educational Review 2 1990). al., In each case, it is assumed that a positive sense of one's 1988; Phinney, as a member of one's group (which is not based on any assumed superiority) self is important for psychological health. Identity Racial Development Black According to Cross's (1971, 1978, 1991) model of Black racial identity develop­ identified as Preencounter, Encounter, ment, there are five stages in the process, Immersion/Emersion, Internalization, and Internalization-Commitment. In the first stage of Preencounter, the African American has absorbed many of the beliefs and values of the dominant White culture, including the notion that "White is right" and "Black is wrong." Though the internalization of negative Black stereo­ types may be outside of his or her conscious awareness, the individual seeks to as­ similate and be accepted by Whites, and actively or passively distances him/herself 3 Blacks. from other an African-American woman previously quoted, captured the essence Louise, of this stage in the following description of herself at an earlier time: For time it seemed as if I didn't remember my background, and I guess a long in some ways I didn't. I was never taught to be proud of my African heritage. Like class, I went through a very long stage of identifying with my we talked about in oppressors. Wanting to be like, live like, and be accepted by them. Even to the part point of hating my own race and myself for being a of it. Now I am ashamed that I ever was ashamed. I lost so much of myself in my denial of and refusal to my people. accept In order to maintain psychological comfort at this stage of development, Helms writes: The person must maintain the fiction that race and racial indoctrination have nothing to do with how he or she lives life. It is probably the case that the Preen­ counter person is bombarded on a regular basis with that he or she information cannot really be a member of the "in" racial group, but relies on denial to selec­ tively screen information from awareness. (1990, p. 23) such This de-emphasis on one's racial-group membership may allow the individual that race has not been or will not be a relevant factor in one's own achieve­ to think that is often a part ment, and may contribute to the belief in a U.S. meritocracy of a Preencounter worldview. Movement into the Encounter phase is typically precipitated by an event or of events that forces the individual to acknowledge the impact of racism in series life. For example, instances of social rejection by White friends or colleagues one's (or reading new personally relevant information about racism) may lead the indi- 2 While similar models of racial identity development exist, Cross and Helms are referenced here they are among the most frequently cited writers on Black racial identity development and because White racial identity development, respectively. For a discussion of the commonalities between on (1989, 1990) and Helms (1990). these and other identity development models, see Phinney 3 Both Parham (1989) and Phinney (1989) suggest that a preference for the dominant group is not with always characteristic of this stage. For example, children raised in households and communities a explicitly positive Afrocentric attitudes may absorb a pro-Black perspective, which then serves as the starting point for their own exploration of racial identity. 10

11 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY that many Whites will not view him or her as an equal. vidual to the conclusion the reality he or she cannot truly be White, the individual is forced with that Faced to focus on his or her identity as a member of a group targeted by racism. Brenda, a Korean-American student, described her own experience of this pro­ cess as a result of her participation in the racism course: because of this class, I have become much more I feel of racism that that aware Because of my awareness of racism, I am now bothered by acts and exists around. behaviors that might not have bothered me in the past. Before when racial com­ ments said around me I would somehow ignore it and pretend that nothing were was By ignoring comments such as these, I was protecting myself. It became said. sort of a defense mechanism. I never realized I did this, until I was confronted with that were found in our reading, by other people of color, who also ig­ stories that bothered them. In realizing that there is racism out in the nored comments world and that that are directed towards me, there are comments concerning race second step, I feel as if I have reached the first step. I also think I have reached the I am now bothered and irritated by such comments. I no longer ignore because them, but now confront them. The Immersion/Emersion stage is characterized by the simultaneous desire to surround oneself with visible symbols of one's racial identity and an active avoid­ ance of of Whiteness. As Thomas Parham describes, "At this stage, every­ symbols life must be Black or relevant to This stage is also char­ thing of value in Blackness. acterized by a tendency to denigrate White people, simultaneously glorifying Black . . ." people. p. 190). The previously described anger that emerges in class (1989, among African-American students and other students of color in the process of part of the transition through these stages. learning about racism may be seen as individuals enter the Immersion stage, they actively seek out opportunities As with to explore aspects of their own history and culture the support of peers from their own racial background. Typically, White-focused anger dissipates during this phase because so much of the person's energy is directed toward his or her own group- and self-exploration. The result of this exploration is an emerging security in a newly defined and affirmed sense of self. another African-American woman, described herself at the beginning Sharon, of the semester as angry, seemingly in the Encounter stage of development. She wrote after our class meeting: Another point that I must put down is that before I entered class today I was angry about the way Black people have been treated will in this country. I don't think I that and I basically feel justified in my feelings. easily overcome At the end of the semester, Sharon had joined two other Black students with in the class to work on their final class project. She observed that the three of them had planned their project to focus on Black people specifically, suggesting move­ ment into the Immersion stage of racial identity development. She wrote: We are concerned about the well-being of our own people. They cannot be well if they have this pinned-up hatred for their own people. This internalized racism is something that we all felt, at various times, needed to be talked about. This semester it has really been important to me, and I believe Gordon [a Black class­ mate], too. 11

12 Harvard Educational Review The emergence from this stage marks the beginning of Internalization. Secure in one's own sense of racial identity, there is less need to assert the "Blacker than often characteristic of the Immersion stage (Parham, 1989). In gen­ thou" attitude eral, "pro-Black attitudes become more expansive, open, and less defensive" 1971, p. 24). While still maintaining his or her connections Black (Cross, with peers, the internalized individual is willing to establish meaningful relationships with Whites who acknowledge and are respectful of his or her self-definition. The members of other oppressed individual is also ready to build coalitions with that groups. At the end of the semester, Brenda, a Korean American, concluded she had in fact internalized a positive sense of racial identity. The process she de­ Cross: parallels the stages described by scribed I have been for a long time that I am Korean. But through this class I am aware beginning to really become of my race. I am beginning to find out that aware White people can be accepting of me and at the same accept me as a Korean. time I grew up wanting to be accepted and ended up almost denying my race and culture. I don't think I did this but the denial did occur. As I grew consciously, older, I realized that I was different. I became for the first time, friends with other I realized I had much in common with them. This was when I went Koreans. with through my "Korean friend" stage. I began to enjoy being friends Koreans with Caucasians. more than I did Well, ultimately, through many years of growing up, I am much in focus pretty about who I am and who my friends are. I knew before I took this class that there were people not of color that were understanding of my differences. In our class, I feel that everyone is trying to sincerely find the answer of abolishing racism. I with them weekly. knew people like this existed, but it's nice to meet that Cross suggests there are few psychological differences between the fourth stage, Internalization-Commitment. How­ stage, Internalization, and the fifth stage have found ways to translate their "personal sense of ever, those at the fifth Blackness into a plan of action or a general sense of commitment" to the concerns of as a group, which is sustained over time (Cross, 1991, p. 220). Whether Blacks at the fourth or stage, the process of Internalization allows the individual, fifth anchored in a positive sense of racial identity, both to proactively perceive and transcend race. Blackness becomes "the point of departure for discovering the uni­ verse of ideas, cultures and experiences beyond blackness in place of mistaking blackness as the universe itself (Cross, Parham, & Helms, 1991, p. 330). Though the process of racial identity development has been presented here in linear form, in fact it is probably more accurate to think of it in a spiral form. Often a person may move from one stage to the next, only to revisit an earlier 1989), stage as the result of new encounter experiences (Parham, though the later experience of the stage may be different from the original experience. The image that students often find helpful in understanding this concept of recycling through that the stages is of a spiral staircase. As a person ascends a spiral staircase, she may stop and look down at a spot below. When she reaches the next level, she may 4 look down and see the same spot, but the vantage point has changed. 4 After being introduced to this model and Helms's model of White identity development, students are encouraged to think about how the models might apply to their own experience or the experiences journal entries, of they know. As is reflected in the cited people some students resonate to the theories quite readily, easily seeing their own process of growth reflected in them. Other students are some- 12

13 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY Development White Racial Identity those targeted The transformations experienced are often paralleled by by racism (1990) the evolution of a positive White students. Helms describes by those of the abandonment of White racial identity the devel­ as involving both racism and nonracist White identity. In order to do the latter, of a opment she must accept his or her own Whiteness, the cultural implications of being he or a White, and define a view of Self that does not depend on the per­ as racial being of ceived one racial group over another. superiority (p. 49) model of White racial identity development: in her identifies six stages She Con­ tact, Disintegration, Reintegration, Pseudo-Independent, Immersion/Emersion, and Autonomy. lack The Contact stage is characterized awareness of cultural and institu­ by a of and of one's own White privilege. Peggy Mcintosh (1989) writes tional racism, her own experience of this state of eloquently about being: As white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which a at a disadvantage, had been taught not to see one of its corollary puts others but privilege, which puts see advantage. . . . I was taught to white aspects, me at an in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring only racism group. (p. 10) on my dominance addition, the Contact stage often includes naive curiosity about In fear of or people color, based on stereotypes learned from friends, family, or the media. of stereotypes represent at framework in use when a person These this stage of the like development makes such as, "You don't act comment a Black person" a (Helms, 1990, p. 57). Those Whites whose lives are structured so as to limit their interaction with peo­ ple of as well as their awareness of racial issues, may remain at this stage color, of experiences (increased interaction indefinitely. However, certain kinds with color exposure to new information about racism) may lead to a new of or people cultural understanding institutional racism exist. This new understand­ that and the beginning of the Disintegration stage. ing marks the bliss of ignorance or lack of At this stage, is replaced by the dis­ awareness comfort guilt, shame, and sometimes anger at the recognition of one's own ad­ of of acknowledgement and the vantage because of the role of Whites being White in maintenance of a racist system. Attempts to reduce discomfort may include the denial (convincing oneself that racism doesn't really exist, or if it does, it is the fault of its victims). example, Tom, White male student, responded with some frustration in For a journal to a classmate's observation that the fact that his had never read any she books Black authors in any of her high by or college English classes was school an example of cultural racism. He wrote, "It's not my fault that Blacks don't write books." times puzzled because they feel as though their own process varies from these models, and may ask for it is to "skip" a if possible example. Such questions provide a useful departure particular stage, point for discussing the limitations of stage theories in general, and the potential variations in experi­ ence that make questions of racial identity development so complex. 13

14 Harvard Educational Review After viewing a film in which a psychologist used examples of Black children's drawings to illustrate the potentially damaging effect of negative cultural messages on a Black child's developing self-esteem, David, another White male student, wrote: without arms. The I found it interesting the way Black children drew themselves the child feels unable to control his environ­ psychologist said this is saying that ment. It can't be because the child has notions and beliefs already about being I don't Black. It must be built in or hereditary due to the past history of the Blacks. believe it's cognitive but more biological due to a long past history of repression being put down. and Though Tom's and David's explanations seem quite problematic, they can be in the context of racial identity development theory as a way of reduc­ understood dissonance ing upon learning this new race-related information. As their cognitive earlier, was (accomplished by avoiding contact with people discussed withdrawal with of color and the topic of racism) is another strategy for dealing the discomfort experienced at this stage. Many of the previously described responses of White Con­ students to race-related content are characteristic of the transition from the tact to the Disintegration stage of development. describes another response to the discomfort of Disintegration, (1990) Helms which involves attempts to change significant others' attitudes toward African and other people of color. However, as she points out, Americans due to the racial naivete with which this approach may be undertaken and the per­ ambivalent racial identification, this dissonance-reducing son's strategy is likely to be met rejection by Whites as well as Blacks. (p. 59) with In fact, this response is also frequently observed among White students who have an opportunity to talk with friends and family during holiday visits. Sud­ denly they are noticing the racist content of jokes or comments of their friends and relatives and will try to confront them, often only to find that their efforts are, at best, ignored or dismissed as a "phase," or, at worst, greeted open hostility. with a White male previously quoted, wrote Carl, at length about this dilemma: it was possible to simply go through life that I realized totally oblivious to the en­ tire situation or, even if one realizes it, one can totally repress it. It is easy to fade with the rest of into the woodwork, run and never have to deal with these society, problems. So many people I know from home are like this. They have simply ac­ what society has taught them cepted little, if any, question. My father is a with prime example of this. . . . It has caused much friction in our relationship, and he often tells me as a father he has failed in raising me correctly. Most of my high school friends will never deal with these issues and propagate them on to their own children. It's easy to see how the cycle continues. I don't think I could ever justify myself simply turning my back on the problem. I finally realized my within that position in all of these dominant groups gives me power to make change occur. . that I feel alienated from friends and . . It is an unfortunate result often though family. It's often played off as a mere stage that I'm going through. I obviously can't tell if it's merely a stage, but I know that they say this to take the attention take off of the of what I'm saying. By belittling me, they truth the power out of my argument. It's very depressing that being compassionate and considerate are 14

15 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY that people go through. I don't want it to be a phase for me, seen as only phases I look at my environment and often wonder sound, but as obvious as this may will not be. how it The societal pressure to accept the status quo may lead the individual from Dis­ integration to Reintegration. At this point the desire to be accepted by one's own racial group, in which the overt or covert belief in White superiority is so preva­ lent, may lead to a reshaping of the person's belief system to be more congruent an acceptance of The guilt and anxiety associated with Disintegration racism. with may be redirected in the form of fear and anger directed toward people of color (particularly Blacks), who are now blamed as the source of discomfort. Connie, a White woman of Italian ancestry, in many ways exemplified the pro­ from the Contact stage to Reintegration, a process she herself described gression weeks into the semester. After reading about the stages of White identity seven development, she wrote: I think mostly I can find myself in the disintegration stage of development. . . . when I never considered myself a time I never described myself There was a color. a "White, Italian female" until I got to college and noticed as people of color that always themselves by their color/race. While taking this class, I have be­ described to understand that being White makes a difference. I never thought about gun it before but there are many privileges to being White. In my personal life, I can­ not say that I have ever felt that I have had the advantage over a Black person, but I am aware my race has the advantage. that that. I find myself "I didn't mean I am feeling really guilty lately about thinking: to be White, I really didn't mean it." I am starting to feel angry towards my race for ever this advantage towards personal gains. But at the same time I resent using fault that the minority groups. I mean, it's not our society has deemed us "super­ ior." I don't feel any than a Black person. But it really doesn't matter be­ better cause I am a member of the dominant race. . . . I can't help it . . . and I some­ times get angry and feel like I'm being attacked. I guess my anger toward a minority group would enter me into the next stage of Reintegration, where I am once again starting to blame the victim. This is all very trying for me and it has been on my mind a lot. I really would like to be able to reach the last stage, autonomy, where I can accept being White without hostil­ ity and anger. That is really hard to do. Helms suggests that it is relatively easy for Whites to become stuck at (1990) the Reintegration stage of development, particularly if avoidance of people of color is However, if there is a catalyst for continued self-examination, the possible. person "begins to question her or his previous definition of Whiteness and the jus­ tifiability of racism in any of its forms. . . . " (p. 61). In my experience, continued participation in a course on racism provides the catalyst for this deeper self- examination. This process was again exemplified by Connie. At the end of the semester, she listened to her own taped interview of her racial attitudes that she had recorded at the beginning of the semester. She wrote: Oh wow! I could not believe some of the things that I said. I was obviously in dif­ ferent stages of the White identity development. As I listened and got more and 15

16 Harvard Educational Review more disgusted myself when I was at the Reintegration stage, I tried to re­ with that these are stages all (most) White people go through when mind myself that notions of dealing racism. with I can remember clearly the resentment I had for color. of people I feel the one thing I enjoyed from listening to my interview was noticing how much I have changed. I think I am finally out of the Reintegration conscious effort to seek out information about stage. I am beginning to make a people of color and accept their criticism. . . . I still feel guilty about the feeling and I always feel bad about being privileged as a result I had about people of color But I am glad racism. I have reached what I feel is the Pseudo-Independent of that stage of White identity development. The information-seeking Connie describes often marks the onset of the that Pseudo-Independent stage. At this stage, the individual is abandoning beliefs in White superiority, but may still behave in ways that unintentionally perpetuate the system. Looking to those targeted by racism to help him or her understand the White person often tries to disavow his or her own Whiteness through racism, active affiliation with for example. The individual experiences a sense of Blacks, alienation from other Whites who have not yet begun to examine their own ra­ cism, yet may also experience rejection from Blacks or other people of color who suspicious of his or her motives. Students of color moving from the Encounter are to the Immersion phase of their own racial identity development may be particu­ larly unreceptive to the White person's attempts to connect them. with with Uncomfortable his or her own Whiteness, yet unable to be truly anything the individual may begin searching for a new, more comfortable way to be else, White. This search is characteristic of the Immersion/Emersion stage of develop­ what it means to be ment. Just as the Black student seeks to redefine positively of African ancestry in the United States through immersion in accurate informa­ tion about one's culture and history, the White individual seeks to replace racially related myths and stereotypes with accurate information about what it means and has meant to be White in U.S. society (Helms, Learning about Whites who 1990). part of this have been antiracist allies to people of color is a very important process. written by antiracist activists describing their own process After reading articles of unlearning racism, White students often comment on how helpful it is to know that others have experienced similar feelings and have found ways to resist the 5 a White woman who initially For example, Joanne, racism in their environments. experienced a lot of guilt, wrote: article helped me out in many ways. I've been feeling and frustrated. This helpless I know there are all these terrible things going on and I want to be able to do something. that others feel this . . . Anyway this article helped me realize, again, way, and gave me some positive ideas to resolve my dominant class guilt and shame. Finally, reading the biographies and autobiographies of White individuals who have embarked on a similar process of identity development (such as Barnard, 1987) provides White students important models for change. with 5 of useful articles include Examples by Mcintosh (1988), Lester (1987), and Braden (1987). essays Each of these combines autobiographical material, as well as a conceptual framework for understand­ edited book, Im­ ing racism that students find very helpful. Bowser and Hunt's (1981) some aspect of pacts of Racism on Whites, though less autobiographical in nature, is also a valuable resource. 16

17 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY with a sense Learning about White antiracists can also provide students of color they can have White allies. After hearing a White antiracist activist that of hope Sonia, a Latina who had the about her impatience with ex­ address class, written pressions of White guilt, wrote: with I don't know when I have been more impressed by anyone. She filled me that there are good people in the world hope for the future. She made me believe Whites suffer too and want that and to change things. For White students, the internalization of a newly defined sense of oneself as White is the primary task of the Autonomy stage. The positive feelings associated with this redefinition energize the person's efforts to confront racism and oppres­ in his or her daily life. Alliances with people of color can be more easily forged sion at this stage of development than previously because the person's antiracist behav­ iors will be more consistently expressed. While Autonomy might be and attitudes as "racial self-actualization, . . . it is best to think of it as an ongoing described process . . . wherein the person is continually open to new information and new ways of thinking about racial and cultural variables" (Helms, 1990, p. 66). Annette, a White woman, described herself in the Autonomy stage, but talked at length about the circular process she felt she had been engaged in during the semester: If people as racist as C. P. Ellis (a former Klansman) can change, I think anyone change. If that makes me idealistic, fine. I do not think my expecting society can to change is naive anymore because I now know exactly what want. To be naive I a lack of knowledge both allows me to accept myself means as a White person that and class showed me that these two are not mutually exclusive as an idealist. This but are an integral part of me that I cannot deny. I realize now that through most of this class I was trying to deny both of them. While I was not accepting society's racism, I was accepting society's telling me as there was nothing I could do to change racism. So, I told my­ a White person, I was being naive and tried to suppress my desire to change society. This is self society's what — while I saw made me racism through examples in the so frustrated and the media, I kept telling myself there was nothing I could do. Listen­ readings to my tape, I think I was already in the Autonomy stage when I started this ing I then seemed to decide class. being White, I also had to be racist which is that went when I became frustrated and back to the Disintegration stage. I was frus­ trated because I was not only telling myself there was nothing I could do but I was assuming society's racism was my own which made me feel like I did not also to be White. Actually, it was not being White that I was disavowing but be­ want ing racist. I think I have now returned to the Autonomy stage and am much more secure in my position there. I accept my Whiteness now as just a part of me as is my idealism. I no longer disavow these characteristics as I have realized will I can be proud of both of them. In turn, I can now truly accept other people for their unique characteristics and not by the labels society has given them as I can myself that way. accept While I thought the main ideas I learned in this class were that White peo­ that ple need to be educated to end racism and everyone should be treated as human beings, I really had already incorporated these ideas into my thoughts. What I learned from this class is being White does not mean being racist and being ideal­ istic does not mean being naive. I really did not have to form new ideas about people of color; I had to form them about myself — and I did. 17

18 Harvard Educational Review Implications for Classroom Teaching movement through all the stages of racial identity development will Although not for each student the course of a semester (or even four occur within necessarily years of college), it is certainly common to witness beginning transformations in classes with race-related content. An awareness of the existence of this process has helped me to implement strategies to facilitate positive student development, as within the classroom. well as to improve interracial dialogue Four strategies for reducing student resistance and promoting student develop­ I have found useful are the following: ment that 1. the creation of a safe classroom atmosphere by establishing clear guidelines discussion; for 2. the creation of opportunities for self-generated knowledge; 3. the provision of an appropriate developmental model that students can use as process; a framework for understanding their own 4. the exploration of strategies to empower students as change agents. Creating a Safe Climate As earlier, making the classroom a safe space for discussion is essen­ discussed was will also re­ for overcoming students' fears about breaking the race taboo, and tial later anxieties about exposing one's own internalized racism. Establishing the duce guidelines of confidentiality, mutual respect, "no zaps," and speaking from one's own experience on the first day of is a necessary step in the process. class Students respond very positively to these ground rules, and do try to honor them. While the rules do not totally eliminate anxiety, they clearly communicate that there is a safety net for the discussion. Students are also encour­ to students aged to direct their comments and questions to each other rather than always fo­ cusing their attention on me as the instructor, and to learn each other's names rather than referring to each other as "he," "she," or "the person in the red sweater" 6 when responding to each other. The Power of Self-Generated Knowledge The creation of opportunities for self-generated knowledge on the part of students is a powerful tool for reducing the initial stage of denial that many students experi­ While it may seem easy for some students to challenge the validity of what ence. with they read or says, it is harder to deny what they have seen the instructor what their own eyes. Students can be given hands-on assignments outside of class to facilitate this process. For example, after reading Portraits of White Racism (Wellman, 1977), some stu­ dents expressed the belief that the attitudes expressed by the White interviewees were no longer commonly held attitudes. Students were in the book then asked to use the same interview protocol used in the book (with some revision) to inter­ view a White adult of their choice. When students reported on these interviews in class, their own observation of the similarity between those they had inter- 6 size has a direct bearing on my ability to create safety in the classroom. Dividing the class Class into pairs or small groups of five or six students to discuss initial reactions to a particular article or film helps to increase participation, both in the small groups and later in the large group discussions. 18

19 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY than anything I might viewed and those they had read about was more convincing said. have After doing her interview, Patty, a usually quiet White student, wrote: that I'm finally getting a better grip on the idea I think I learned a lot from it and I think that was why I participated so much in class. I really felt of racism. like what I knew I was talking about. Other examples of creating opportunities for self-generated knowledge include students the task of visiting grocery stores in neighborhoods of differing assigning racial composition to compare the cost and quality of and services available goods at the two locations, and to observe the interactions between the shoppers and the store personnel. For White students, one of the most powerful assignments of this with type has been to go apartment hunting an African-American student and to experience housing discrimination firsthand. While one concern such an as­ with will signment is the effect it have on the student(s) of color involved, I have found that those Black students who choose this assignment rather than another are typi­ cally eager to have their White classmates experience the reality of racism, and thus participate quite willingly in the process. Naming the Problem emotional responses that students have to talking and learning about racism The are quite predictable and related to their own racial identity development. Unfor­ tunately, students typically do not know this; thus they consider their own guilt, embarrassment, or anger an uncomfortable experience they alone are shame, that Informing students at the beginning of the semester that having. these feelings may be part of the learning process is ethically necessary (in the sense of informed consent), and helps to normalize the students' experience. Knowing in advance that a desire to withdraw from classroom discussion or not to complete assign­ ments is a common response helps students to remain engaged when they reach that Alice, a White woman, wrote at the end of the semester: point. As were You so right in saying in the beginning how we would grow tired of racism so good! I have loved the class once I passed (I did in October) but then it would get that point. with students In addition, sharing the model of racial identity development gives them a useful framework for understanding each other's as well as processes their own. This cognitive framework does not necessarily prevent the collision of developmental processes previously described, but it does allow students to be less frightened by it when it occurs. If, for example, White students understand the of racial identity development for students of color, they are less likely to stages or feel threatened by an African-American student's anger. personalize a White student who initially expressed a lot of resentment at the way Connie, students of color tended to congregate in the college cafeteria, was much more of this behavior after she learned about racial identity development understanding theory. She wrote: I learned a lot from reading the article about the stages of development in the stages model oppressed people. As a White person going through my of of identity development, I do not take time to think about the struggle people of color go 19

20 Harvard Educational Review through to reach a stage of complete understanding. I am glad I know about that color's behavior in certain situ­ the stages because now I can understand people of ations. For example, when people of color stay to themselves and appear to be in a clique, it is not because they are being rude as I originally thought. Rather they are engaged perhaps in the Immersion stage. Mary, another White student, wrote: I found the entire Cross model of racial identity development very enlightening. there were stages of racial identity development before I entered this I knew that what they were, or what they really entailed. After reading I did not know class. through this article I found myself saying, "Oh. That explains why she reacted this way to this incident instead of how she would have a year ago." Clearly this person entered a different stage and is working through different problems from a has new viewpoint. Thankfully, the model provides a degree of hope that will people will not always be angry, and not always be separatists, etc. Although I'm not really sure about that. Conversely, when students of color understand the stages of White racial identity development, they can be more tolerant or appreciative of a White stu­ with guilt, for example. After reading about the stages of White dent's struggle identity development, Sonia, previously quoted, wrote: a Latina article was the one that This that my own prejudices were showing. made me feel I never knew that Whites went through an identity development of their own. She later told me outside of that she found it much easier to listen to some class of the things White students said because she could understand their potentially offensive comments as of a developmental stage. part Sharon, an African-American woman, also found that an understanding of the respective stages of racial identity development helped her to understand some of with White students since coming to college. She the interactions she had had wrote: There is a lot of that occurs between Black and White people at college which clash best explained by their respective stages of development. Unfortunately is schools have not helped to alleviate these problems earlier in life. In a course on the psychology of racism, it is easy to build in the provision of this information as part of the course content. For instructors teaching courses with race-related content in other fields, it may seem less natural to do so. How­ ever, the inclusion of articles on racial identity development and/or class discus­ of these issues in conjunction sion the other strategies that have been sug­ with gested can improve student receptivity to the course content in important ways, making it a very useful investment of class time. Because the stages describe kinds of behavior many people have commonly observed in themselves, as well as that in their own intraracial and interracial interactions, my experience has been that most students grasp the basic conceptual framework fairly easily, even if they do not have a background in psychology. Empowering Students as Change Agents Heightening students' awareness of racism without also developing an awareness of the possibility of change is a prescription for despair. I consider it unethical to 20

21 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY without the other. Exploring strategies to empower students as change do one of the process of talking about race and learning part agents is thus a necessary about racism. As was previously mentioned, students find it very helpful to read about and hear from individuals who have been effective change agents. News­ well as biographical or autobiographical essays or paper and magazine articles, as excerpts, are often important sources for this information. book I also ask students to work in small groups to develop an action plan of their own for interrupting racism. While I do not consider it appropriate to require stu­ dents to engage in antiracist activity (since I believe this should be a personal choice the student makes for him/herself), students are required to think about the Guidelines are provided (see Katz, 1978), and the plans that they de­ possibility. over several weeks are presented at the end of the semester. Students are velop with each other's good ideas, and, in fact, they often do go generally impressed on to implement their projects. Joanne, with feelings of guilt, wrote: a White student who initially struggled hearing others' ideas for action plans was interesting and informa­ I thought that tive. It really helps me realize (reminds me) the many choices and avenues there are once I decided to be an ally. Not only did I develop my own concrete way to be an ally, I have found many other ways I, as a college student, can be that an active anti-racist. It was really empowering. way all students can be empowered is by offering them the opportunity Another to consciously observe their own development. The taped exercise to which some of the previously quoted students have referred is an example of one way to pro­ vide this opportunity. At the beginning of the semester, students are given an in­ terview guide with many open-ended questions concerning racial attitudes and opinions. They are asked to interview themselves on tape as a way of recording their own ideas for future reference. Though the tapes are collected, students are assured no one (including me) will listen to them. The tapes are returned near that the end of the semester, and students are asked to listen to their own tapes and use discuss it in essay form. their understanding of racial identity development to resulting essays are often remarkable and underscore the psychological The im­ portance of giving students the chance to examine racial issues in the classroom. The following was written by Elaine, a White woman: Another common theme that was apparent in the tape was that, for the most part, I was aware of my own ignorance and was embarrassed because of it. I wanted that to know more about the oppression of people in the country so I could do something about it. Since I have been here, I have begun to be actively resistant to racism. I have been able to confront my grandparents and some old friends school when they make racist comments. Taking this psychology of ra­ from high cism class is another step toward active resistance to racism. I am trying to edu­ cate myself so I have a knowledge base to work from. that When the tape was made, I was just beginning to be active and just beginning to be educated. I think I am now starting to move into the redefinition stage. I am starting to feel ok about being White. Some of my guilt is dissipating, and I do not feel as ignorant as I used to be. I think I have an understanding of racism; how it effects [sic] myself, and how it effects this country. Because of this I think I can be more active in doing something about it. 21

22 Harvard Educational Review In the words of a Black female student: Louise, of the greatest things I learned from this semester in general is that One the world is not only Black and White, nor is the United States. I learned a lot about my own erasure of many American ethnic groups. . . . I am in the (immersion) stage little in the (encounter) of my identity development. I think I am also dangling a stage. I say this because a lot of my energies are still directed toward White peo­ ple. I began writing a poem two days ago and it was directed to White racism. However, I have also become more Black-identified. I am reaching to the strength in Afro-American heritage. I am learning more about the heritage and history of Afro-American culture. Knowledge = strength and strength = power. While some students are clearly more self-reflective and articulate about their talk and own process than others, most students experience the opportunity to learn about these issues as a transforming process. In my experience, even those students who are frustrated by aspects of the course find themeselves changed by such student wrote it. One in her final journal entry: What I to be a major hindrance to me was the amount of people. Despite the felt I really never at ease enough to speak openly about the feelings philosophy, felt I have and kind of watched the class pull farther and farther apart as the semester on. . . . I think that it was your attitude that went kept me intrigued by the topics we studying despite my frustrations with the were time. I really feel as class though I made some significant moves in my understanding of other people's posi­ tions in our world as well as of my feelings of racism, and I feel very good about them. I feel like this class has moved me in the right direction. I'm on a roll I think, because I've been introduced to so much. Facilitating student development in this way is a challenging and complex task, the effort. but the results are clearly worth Institution Implications for the What are the institutional implications for an understanding of racial identity de­ velopment theory beyond the classroom? How can this framework be used to ad­ the pressing issues dress of increasing diversity and decreasing racial tensions on college talk campuses? How can providing opportunities in the curriculum to about race and learn about racism affect the recruitment and retention of students of color specifically, especially when the majority of the students enrolled are White? fact is, educating White students about race and racism changes attitudes The in ways that go beyond the classroom boundaries. As White students move through their own stages of identity development, they take their friends with them by engaging them in dialogue. They share the articles they have read with roommates, and involve them in their projects. An example of this involvement can be seen in the following journal entry, written by Larry, a White man: Here it is our fifth week of class and more and more I am becoming aware of the racism second project made things clearer, because while watch­ around me. Our ing T.V. I picked up many kinds of discrimination and stereotyping. Since the project was over, I still find myself watching these shows and picking up bits and pieces every show I watch. Even my friends will be watching a show and they will 22

23 Learning about Racism DANIEL TATUM BEVERLY that in your paper." Since they know I am taking this class, say, "Hey, Larry, put they say around they are looking out for these things. They are also watching what will that use them as an example. For example, one of my friends I me for fear has Jewish people. Before I would listen to his this fascination with making fun of take them in stride, but now I confront him about his comments. comments and class The heightened awareness of the White students enrolled in the has a rip­ ple effect in their peer group, which helps to create a climate in which students of color and other targeted groups (Jewish students, for example) might feel more comfortable. It is likely that White students who have had the opportunity to learn will be better able to be allies to students about racism in a supportive atmosphere of color in extracurricular settings, like student government meetings and other organizational settings, where students of color often feel isolated and unheard. At the same time, students of color who have had the opportunity to examine the ways in which racism may have affected their own lives are able to give voice to their own experience, and to validate it rather than be demoralized by it. An understanding of internalized oppression can help students of color recognize the ways in which they may have unknowingly participated in their own victimiza­ or the victimization of others. They may be able to move beyond victimiza­ tion, with others, as Sharon, a pre­ tion to empowerment, and share their learning viously quoted Black woman, planned to do. with an understanding of racial identity development communities Campus become more supportive of special-interest groups, could as the Black Stu­ such dent Union or the Asian Student Alliance, because they would recognize them not "separatist" but as important outlets for students of color who may be at the En­ as or Immersion stage of racial identity development. Not only could speak­ counter ers of color be sought out to add diversity to campus programming, but Whites who had made a commitment to unlearning their own racism could be offered as models to those White students looking for new ways to understand their own Whiteness, and to students of color looking for allies. It has become painfully clear on many college campuses across the United States that we cannot have successfully multiracial campuses without talking about race and learning about racism. Providing a forum where this can take place discussion over a semester, a time that allows personal and group development safely period that to unfold in ways day-long or weekend programs do not, may be among the most proactive learning opportunities an institution can provide. References H. F. (Ed.). (1987). Outside Barnard, magic circle: The autobiography of Virginia Foster Durr. the New York: Simon & Schuster. (Originally published in 1985 by University of Alabama Press) Bowser, B. P., & Hunt, R. G. (1981). Impacts of racism on whites. Beverly Hills: Sage. Braden, A. (1987, April-May). Undoing racism: Lessons for the peace movement. The Nonviolent Activist, pp. 3-6. Bronstein, Quina, K. (Eds.). (1988). Teaching a P. A., & of people: Resources for gender psychology and sociocultural awareness. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. conversion Cross, E., Jr. (1971). The Negro to black W. experience: Toward a psychology of black liberation. Black World, 20(9), 13-27. 23

24 Harvard Educational Review Cross, (1978). The Cross and Thomas models of psychological nigrescence. W. E., Jr. 13-19. Journal of Black Psychology, 5(1), (1991). Shades of black: Diversity in African-American identity. Philadelphia: Cross, W. E., Jr. Press. Temple University Cross, (1991). The stages of black identity W. E., Jr., Parham, T. A., & Helms, J. E. development: Nigrescence models. In R. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology (3rd ed., San Francisco: Cobb and Henry. pp. 319-338). Higa, C. T., & Sparks, B. Children, race and racism: How Derman-Sparks, L., (1980). Interracial for Children Bulletin, 11(3/4), 3-15. race awareness develops. Books (1990). Black and Helms, J. E. (Ed.). racial identity: Theory, research and practice. West­ white port, CT: Greenwood Press. Highlen, P. S., Reynolds, A. L., Adams, E. M., Hanley, T. C., Myers, L. J., Cox, C., & Speight, S. August 13). Self-identity development model of oppressed people: Inclusive (1988, model for all? Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Atlanta, GA. (1982). All the women are Hull, G. T., Scott, P. B., & Smith, B. (Eds.). all the blacks white, are but some of men, are brave: Black women's studies. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press. us Katz, J. H. (1978). White awareness: Handbook for anti-racism training. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. (1987). What when the myths are found to be untrue? Unpub­ Lester, J. happens to the mythmakers Emeryville, CA. Institute, lished paper, Equity Mcintosh, (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see corres­ P. pondences through in women's studies. Working paper, Wellesley College Center for work Research on Women, Wellesley, MA. P. July/August). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Mcintosh, (1989, Peace and Freedom, pp. 10-12. Parham, T. A. (1989). Cycles of psychological nigrescence. The Counseling Psychologist, 17(2), 187-226. Phinney, J. (1989). Stages of ethnic identity in minority group adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 9, 34-39. (1990). Psycholog­ identity in adolescents and adults: Review of research. Phinney, J. Ethnic ical Bulletin, 499-514. 108(3), Phinney, J. S., & Rotheram, M. J. (Eds.). (1987). Children's ethnic socialization: Pluralism and development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Schuster, M. R., & Van Dyne, S. R. (Eds.). (1985). Women's place in the academy: Transform­ ing the liberal arts curriculum. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Allanheld. Wellman, D. (1977). Portraits of white racism. New York: Cambridge University Press. 24

25 This material has been repr inted with permission of the Harvard Educational for personal use only. Any ot c, will require written Review her use, print or electroni Review . For more information, please visit permission from the www.harvardeducationalreview.or g or call 1-617-495-3432. Copyright © by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. A ll rights reserved. The Harvard Educational Review is an imprint of the Harv ard Educati on Publishing Group, publishers of the and books under the imprint Harvard Education Letter Harvard Education Press. H EPG’s editorial offices are located at 8 Story Street, First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138, tel. 617-49 5-3432, or email to [email protected]

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