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“Study Challenges Assumption That Whites Are Unaware
Of Their Privileges,” Sept. 21

Racial Awareness

This article points to some interesting and important issues for those of us who study race and its impact on U.S. history and culture. A more detailed discussion of the answers provided and the contemporary, racialized sociopolitical context would help unmask the feelings and motivations that shape the answers by the participants shared in this study. As an anthropologist, I am an advocate of ethnographic methodologies because of their ability to nuance statistical reports and actually teach us something about race, identity and ideology in the United States today.

But, I could not help but notice that the title of the article contradicts the findings of the study. Participants did not show a keen awareness of White privilege or the advantages they reap as a result — a key finding of critical Whiteness studies. What the study indicates is that, contrary to what some previously thought, their racial categorization is not unimportant to White respondents. As the article states, this is not the same as being oblivious to White privilege. White privilege and White blindness to its existence have been well documented in both quantitative and qualitative studies.

— Dr. Sabiyha Prince
Assistant Professor, American University, Washington

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