Note:This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title: “Being White in a Multicultural Society”: Understanding Whiteness in an Intergroup Dialogue
Author(s): Yeung, Jeffrey G.
Subject(s): intergroup dialogue
whiteness
white racial identity
student diversity attitudes
Fall 2009
EPSY 490
Abstract: In this ethnographic study, I utilized critical Whiteness studies as a theoretical framework to empirically examine students’ experience in a 7-week intergroup dialogue entitled, Being White in a Multicultural Society. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with two White females at age 18. Through a modified thematic analysis, four main themes emerged. One, color-blind racial ideology with three subthemes (a) moving beyond race, (b) myth of meritocracy, and (c) unawareness of institutional racism. Two, costs of racism, which had two subthemes (a) fear of being labeled “racist,” and (b) still trying to understand Whiteness. Three, invisibility and normalcy of Whiteness emerged with no subthemes. Four, a major theme about the course, which included three subthemes (a) reasons for taking the course, (b) expectations of the course, and (c) best part of the course. Two recommendations were provided to the university: (a) increase opportunities for White students to explore and understand Whiteness and racism, which may include additional intergroup dialogues, workshops, diversity forums, classes, etc. and (b) develop and fund a systematic research program at Illinois on diversity education among White students.
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report: This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary critical whiteness studies literature and addresses concepts such as white privilege, white racial identity development, and white anti-racism. It also focuses on various qualitative research methods that scholars use in the empirical investigation of whiteness. Throughout the course, we will consider the ways in which the various content and methods may apply to understanding whiteness at predominantly white universities.
As part of the Ethnographic University Initiative, we will work together to establish a collegial research community in the class. Thus, as you develop your independent research projects we all will have opportunities to give and receive feedback throughout the semester. My hope is that you will strengthen your understanding of the research process and your self-efficacy as researchers. By effectively investigating some aspect of whiteness at the University of Illinois, we will contribute in meaningful ways to understanding how whiteness operates in one of the contexts in which we live.
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16241
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-05-20


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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