Racism And The White Studies Experience At A Predominantly White Institution

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Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy


Doctor of Philosophy

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This research study examined black college students lived experiences with racism and white studies. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted with five black college students. They participated in entrance interviews, a white studies workshop that incorporated a focus group, wrote reflective journals, had exit interviews, and a group debriefing session. The data were analyzed and interpreted through the theoretical lenses of Critical Race Theory and Transformative Learning Theory. A textual analysis of the data revealed two overarching themes. Those themes are the oppressive acts of racism and the revelations from white studies. The participants' white studies experience revealed the power of hearing other students' stories about their experiences with racism, opened their eyes to certain aspects and manifestations of whiteness, provided them with language to use, and fostered strategies about how to respond to racist offenders. Those findings led to a few implications for student affairs professionals, especially those who work with black and minority students, like those in multicultural student programs and services. Multicultural student programs and services are tasked with educating students about privilege and providing programs that address confronting prejudices and changing oppressive attitudes and behaviors on campus. Multicultural student programs and services professionals could use white studies as a tool to equip black college students with knowledge and language to use when responding to incidents of racism and racist offenders.