Event Title

Privileged and Complicit: Education and Understanding of White Privilege at a Predominately White Institution

Location

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

Start Date

10-4-2018 3:30 PM

Description

PURPOSE: As a predominately-white institution, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students commonly come from racially homogenous backgrounds and may have never had to think about their racial identity or racial issues. The purpose of this study was to examine the students’ perception of their understanding about the concept of privilege, the effectiveness of education about privilege at this institution, and comfort in racial dialogue. Without an understanding of privilege and oppression, and their complicity in this system, students cannot be expected to engage meaningfully in any discussion about racial injustice. SUBJECTS: Seven (7) participants were included in the study. Criterion for participation included the following self-identifications, (1) white, (2) current undergraduate student, (3) been attending the institution for at least one year. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Students were asked to complete a brief questionnaire and participate in a 60-minute semi-structured interview. ANALYSES: Line-by-line analysis of transcriptions was conducted using open coding, followed by axial coding to identify themes in the response data. RESULTS: Four overarching themes were produced from the analysis of the data: (1) Upbringing and Socialization, (2) Emotional Responses, (3) Justification, and (4) Education. CONCLUSIONS: Findings provide insight on the experience of white students and racial issues, how their background plays a role in their thought process, and what factors have either helped or hindered their racial identity development.

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Apr 10th, 3:30 PM

Privileged and Complicit: Education and Understanding of White Privilege at a Predominately White Institution

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

PURPOSE: As a predominately-white institution, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students commonly come from racially homogenous backgrounds and may have never had to think about their racial identity or racial issues. The purpose of this study was to examine the students’ perception of their understanding about the concept of privilege, the effectiveness of education about privilege at this institution, and comfort in racial dialogue. Without an understanding of privilege and oppression, and their complicity in this system, students cannot be expected to engage meaningfully in any discussion about racial injustice. SUBJECTS: Seven (7) participants were included in the study. Criterion for participation included the following self-identifications, (1) white, (2) current undergraduate student, (3) been attending the institution for at least one year. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Students were asked to complete a brief questionnaire and participate in a 60-minute semi-structured interview. ANALYSES: Line-by-line analysis of transcriptions was conducted using open coding, followed by axial coding to identify themes in the response data. RESULTS: Four overarching themes were produced from the analysis of the data: (1) Upbringing and Socialization, (2) Emotional Responses, (3) Justification, and (4) Education. CONCLUSIONS: Findings provide insight on the experience of white students and racial issues, how their background plays a role in their thought process, and what factors have either helped or hindered their racial identity development.