Developing White Racial Literacy – Revised Edition
Chapter 4: Defining Terms
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My neighborhood is pretty much dominantly white. There are some parts of my town however, that are dominantly Spanish and/or African American. Lately, my town has become much more diverse than when I was younger. The media, history, word of mouth has shown me that there is a certain sense of racism in everyone, even if it’s unintentional. Although segregation is in the past, I feel as if racism will always stick. I feel like my life is not affected by race. I grew up in an accepting household and was taught to love everyone. (ASR)
Once we understand the power and ongoing nature of socialization in our lives, we are ready to move on to the next fundamental building block of racial literacy: understanding the terms prejudice, discrimination, and racism and the key differences between them. These terms provide the overall theoretical framework for understanding what it means to be white.
In the following discussion, I am referring to social dynamics based on group memberships. In other words, we are social beings who learn to understand each other by the groups we belong to: old/young, male/female, heterosexual/gay, able bodied/person with a disability. In large part, we know what it means to be part of our own group by understanding that we are not a part of its opposite group. Thus when I discuss prejudice and discrimination, I am referring to social dynamics between groups of...
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