Date of Award

6-20-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Susan Boser, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kay Snyder, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Veronica Watson, Ph.D.

Abstract

This is an autoethnographic inquiry into the quest to nurture and sustain a character that embodies White, privilege-cognizant antiracism (Bailey, 1998). Situated in a constructivist paradigm of inquiry and using a variety of qualitative methods for data collection, this research examined the researcher‘s own life pursuit of an antiracist identity. Data collected from guided interviews, archival documents, and daily journaling and field notes were subjected to multiple iterations of inductive analysis to reveal salient themes. Two essential findings emerged, each of which was supported by a number of subthemes. The first finding is that there may be particularly virulent and insidious impediments to realizing White, privilege-cognizant antiracist character for people who are conferred with multiple dimensions of privilege. Impediments include socialization into privilege; difficulties in nurturing relationships; a constantly evolving image-building enterprise; and addiction to control. The second essential finding is that the quest for White, privilege-cognizant, antiracist character takes meaningful form only as a part of a larger, holistic, spiritual or humanistic quest for tangible expressions of transformational love, social justice, and human liberation. This research seems to affirm some existing scholarly literature, while also suggesting new areas for inquiry. Recipients of this dissertation are invited to engage in continuing dialogue.

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