Sleeter, C. E. Review of “Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief about Racism”. Equity and Excellence in Education, 47, 246-249.
Except Reprinted with Permission from Taylor & Francis.
Full Article can be accessed at: Taylor & Francis online.
How does racism hurt white people? Usually racism is examined in terms of its negative impact on people of color. Yet, coming to grips with racism’s damage to Whites may be a necessary foundation for Whites to become anti-racist allies. Bowser and Hunt (1996) shifted the examination of racism’s impact from its victims to its perpetrators through social science essays showing that, over the long run, costs of racism to Whites, such as personal inauthenticity, social maladjustment, and strains to mental health, outweigh benefits. Kivel ( 1996), who coined the phrase “‘costs of racism to white people,” describes loss of culture, distorted picture of history, loss of relationships, distorted sense of danger and safety, lower self-esteem, and spiritual depletion as among the costs.
Research on Whites and racism focuses mainly on racial identity development (e.g., Helms, 2007), white privilege (e.g., Halley, Eshleman & Vijaya, 2011), and white racism (e.g., Sleeter, 1994), but rarely directly on its costs to Whites. […] Spanierman, Poteat, Wang, and Oh (2008), in an examination of how racism affects Whites’ multicultural counseling competence, found that fear of others negatively affected interpretation of cases, while empathic reactions prompted compassion that led to deepened knowledge.