White Racial Identity Essay

3129 Words 13 Pages
Prior to beginning my readings on white racial identity, I did not pay much attention to my white race. If someone had asked me to describe my appearance I would have said short blond hair, blue eyes, average stature, etc. One of the last things I would have noted was the color of my skin. Growing up in overwhelmingly white communities, I never thought to use the color of my skin to differentiate myself from others. Over the course of this dialogue I have learned that my white racial identity is one of the most defining aspects of my appearance in this society. There is a certain level of privilege that I am afforded based solely on the color of my skin. According to Peggy McIntosh, “White privilege is like an invisible weightless …show more content…
The institutional and cultural influences that generate these ideas of privilege and oppression are derived from the cycle of socialization. Before children are even able to comprehend what race is, the cycle of socialization is already shaping their views on society and social identities. Bobbie Harro illustrates the cycle of socialization by stating, “the socialization process is pervasive, consistent, circular, self-perpetuating and often invisible” (41). This makes the cycle extremely influential for the creation of our social identities in our society. In my personal experience, I vividly remember my parents taking extra precautious in poor black communities when I was younger to ensure my safety. Although their only intention was to promote my wellbeing, indirectly they established the notion that poor black people are dangerous. Obviously it’s erroneous to claim all black people are dangerous, but this is evidence of the beginning stages of the cycle of socialization taking action.

Before taking this class I was clearly aware of my multiple social identities, although I never analyzed them in the context of a much larger community. For one of our journal assignments my class was asked to check out the site, Stuff White People Like and reflect on how we relate to the stereotypes listed. It was incredibly amusing to me reading about all the different stereotypes and how accurate they were in terms of my interests and
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