Developing White Racial Literacy – Revised Edition
I grew up in poverty, in a family in which no one was expected to go to college. Thus I came late to academia, graduating with a BA in Sociology at the age of 34. Unsure what I could do with my degree, I went to my college’s career center for help. After working with the career counselors for several weeks, I received a call. The counselor told me that a job announcement had just arrived for a “Diversity Trainer,” and she thought I would be a good fit. I didn’t know what a Diversity Trainer was, but the job description sounded very exciting: co-leading workshops for employees on accepting racial difference. In terms of my qualifications, I have always considered myself open-minded and progressive—I come from the West Coast, drive a Prius, and shop at natural food markets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (and always bring my own bags). I will admit that I have on occasion told an ethnic joke or two (but never in mixed company) and that I was often silent when others told similar jokes or made racist comments. But my silence was usually to protect the speaker from embarrassment or avoid arguments. Thus, confident that I was qualified for the diversity trainer position, I applied and received an interview.
The interview committee explained that the State’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS—the “welfare” department) had been sued for ← 1 | 2 → racial discrimination and had lost...
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