White Identity

Books, Book Chapters, & Journal Articles:

  • Fine, M. (1997). Off white : readings on race, power, and society. New York: Routledge.

    Making the claim that "white is a color," Off White brings a much-needed analysis of the white racialization process to the multicultural discussion. The contributors hail from the fields of education and psychology; and their essays acknowledge that white identity, class and sexuality are essential sites for studying racism.

    The opening section explodes the concept of whiteness by examining how it is embodied and institutionalized in schools and in workplaces. Contributors "out" their institutions in order to reveal how racism is embedded in institutional structures, policies, relationships and identities. Other essays tackle the privileges associated with whiteness; pro-white racism, white, working class men's narratives; and the implications of whiteness in print and media. Off White concludes with a look at the possibilities that lie within multiracial ethnic coalition work.

  • Frankenberg, R. (1993). White women, race matters : the social construction of whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Through documenting the life histories of 30 white women, Frankenberg compellingly outlines the interplay of perception and reality in shaping the structures of racism. Rather than understanding whiteness as neutral and void of race, Frankenberg straightforwardly argues that whiteness and its accompanying privilege is crucial in structuring race relations. She proposes that the women she interviewed struggled to understand and to situate themselves within, or outside of, existing race relations and racial consciousness. For example, several subjects reported that as children, they never thought about race, while others, though raised in segregated and racist environments, found ways to challenge the status quo. Frankenberg explores our experiences and perceptions of race, sex and intimacy; she considers, for example, how white girls are taught to fear black men. This book is a valuable contribution to the study of the relationship of whiteness to race, and is a must for anyone concerned with issues of feminism and racism.

  • Goodman, D. (2001). Promoting diversity and social justice : educating people from privileged groups. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications Inc.

    This book offers educational and psychological perspectives to inform practice and increase options in addressing conflict situations. The first part of the book helps the educator understand the reasons for resistance and ways to prevent it. The second part explains how educators motivate dominant groups to support social justice. This book is an excellent resource for group facilitators, counselors, trainers in classrooms and workshops, professors, teachers, higher education personnel, community educators, and other professionals involved with educating others about diversity and equity.

  • Haney-López, I. (1996). White by law : the legal constructions of race. New York: New York University Press.

    Haney-Lopez examines early-20th-century cases in which courts sought to determine who qualified as white for the purposes of citizenship and naturalization. His conclusion: whiteness is "a complex, falsely homogenizing term." For example, he shows how courts issued contradictory decisions regarding the whiteness of groups such as Syrians, Armenians and Asian Indians; some followed scientific evidence, while most ultimately relied on "common knowledge," thus finding many reasons, including culture and political sophistication, to reject foreigners who might be Caucasian. This leads the author to argue, a bit thinly, that whites must pursue a "self-deconstructive" race consciousness to pursue racial justice. Thus, whites must recognize the racial aspects of their privileged identity and daily engage in "choosing against Whiteness"; one example would be to resist racist slurs, even to the point of claiming a nonwhite racial identity when hearing them.

  • Hardiman, R. (2001). Reflections on white identity development theory. In C. Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson (Eds.), New perspectives on racial identity development : a theoretical and practical anthology. New York: New York University Press.

    New Perspectives on Racial Identity Development seeks to update these foundational models. The volume brings together leaders in the field to deepen, broaden, and reassess our understandings of racial identity development among Blacks, Latino/as, Asian Americans, American Indians, Whites, and multiracial people.

    Rita Hardiman takes stock of their original theories and offer updated versions of their models. Later chapters present examples of the ways in which these models may be applied within such contexts as conflict resolution and clinical counseling and supervisory relationships, and address their utility in understanding the experiences of other racial and ethnic groups.

  • Helms, J. E. (1992). A Race is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in your Life. Topeka, Kansas: Content Communications.

    For racism to disappear in the United States, White people must take the responsibility for ending it. For them to assume that responsibility, they must become aware of how racism hurts White people and consequently, how ending it serves White people's best interests. Moreover, this awareness not only must be accompanied by enhanced abilities to recognize the many faces of racism, but also by the discovery of options to replace it.

    Race is intended to be a self-help guide to better racial adjustment. Individuals who read it will approach the book from different levels of personal development and with different kinds of life experiences. Consequently, though some readers may be able to digest its content in a single gulp, others may find it more helpful to mull over each chapter, a bit at a time. Do not be surprised if strong emotions are aroused. Examining your emotions as they occur is a first step toward better racial adjustment.

  • Howard, G. R. (1999). We can't teach what we don't know : white teachers, multiracial schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

    This book discusses how white educators, towards whom this book is directed, can understand issues of privilege, power, and race. It discusses the development of white identity and privilege, as well as how people thinkg about race and how to recognize it in oneself in order to create a classroom that is comfortable and empowering for a diverse group of students.

  • Kivel, P. (1996). Uprooting racism : how white people can work for racial justice. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers.

    Continuously at the top of New Society Publishers' best-seller list for five years, Uprooting Racism has been revised and expanded with more tools than ever to help white people understand and stand-up to racism. In addition to updating existing chapters, the new edition explores how entrenched racism has been revealed in the new economy, voting, anti-Arab prejudice, and health care policy.

  • Thompson, C., Schaefer, E. R., & Brod, H. (2003). White men challenging racism : 35 personal stories. Durham: Duke University Press.

    White Men Challenging Racism is a collection of first-person narratives chronicling the compelling experiences of thirty-five white men whose efforts to combat racism and fight for social justice are central to their lives. Based on interviews conducted by Cooper Thompson, Emmett Schaefer, and Harry Brod, these engaging oral histories tell the stories of the men’s antiracist work. While these men discuss their accomplishments with pride, they also talk about their mistakes and regrets, their shortcomings and strategic blunders. A foreword by James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, provides historical context, describing antiracist efforts undertaken by whites in America during past centuries.