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More on talking about Race

“…The societal pressure to accept the status quo may lead the individual from Disintegration to Reintegration. A t 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 prevalent, may lead to a reshaping of the person’s belief system to be more congruent with an acceptance of racism. The guilt and anxiety associated with Disintegration 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 progression from the Contact stage to Reintegration, a process she herself described seven weeks into the semester. After reading about the stages of White identity
development, she wrote:
I think mostly I can find myself in the disintegration stage of development. . .. There was a time when I never considered myself a color. I never described myself as a “White, Italian female” until I got to college and noticed that people of color always described themselves by their color/race. While taking this class, I have begun to understand that being White makes a difference. I never thought about it before but there are many privileges to being White. In my personal life, I cannot say that I have ever felt that I have had the advantage over a Black person, but I am aware that my race has the advantage. I am feeling really guilty lately about that. I find myself thinking: “I didn’t mean to be White; I really didn’t mean it.” I am starting to feel angry towards my race
for ever using this advantage towards personal gains. But at the same time, I resent the minority groups. I mean, it’s not our fault that society has deemed us “superior.” I don’t feel any better than a Black person. But it really doesn’t matter because I am a member of the dominant race. . .. I can’t help it . . . and I sometimes 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 hostility and anger. That is really hard to do. Helms (1990) suggests that it is relatively easy for Whites to become stuck at the Reintegration stage of development, particularly if avoidance of people of color is possible. However, if there is a catalyst for continued self-examination, the person “begins to question her or his previous definition of Whiteness and the justifiability 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.”

From Learning about Racism by BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM, page 21 visit full PDF here: https://equity.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Tatum-Talking-About-Race.pd

Portrait of Caravaggio turned to the right and looking at his reflection in a mirror

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