Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

The Change Begins with Me

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

The Change Begins with Me

Article excerpt

At a professional development workshop several years ago, the trainer asked participants to spend a few minutes writing about how race affects our daily lives.

I remember shaking my head, thinking that this was yet another example of time wasted by a workshop. But I dutifully complied with the request, put pen to paper, and tried to come up with some way in which my whiteness had influenced my life. After struggling to identify two or three things, I looked up and noticed that all of the black participants were writing furiously. But the white participants all seemed to be like me, staring off into space, some clearly confused and searching their memories for a single example of how race had affected their lives.

Click. I got it. Right then, right there. White people are essentially blind to the impact that their own skin color has on their daily interactions or on their major life choices. One of the privileges of being in the majority has been the privilege of not thinking about the color of our skin.

I have long understood that race is a powerful subtext in almost any interaction between two individuals of different races. But in recent years, I have come to believe that until whites change what we contribute to that subtext, the races will not overcome their discomfort with one another. To understand the contribution, white people must first admit that race is a factor in our lives.

Barack Obama's election sent a powerful signal that millions of Americans are ready to change that subtext. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.