I Didn't Know That Happened in Our Town

By: Annika Karlsen   Jennifer Samp  

The majority of White adults in the United States remain silent and unengaged when it comes to addressing systemic racial oppression and racism in their daily lives. This study considers the modern dominant White racial ideology, known as color-blindness, as it relates to rejecting the salience of racial discussion and discomfort leading White friends avoid discussing controversial racial issues. Data were collected from 86 White dyads (n=172) who self-identified as close friends. Results indicated that White college students who had positive racial attitudes tended to report less anxiety after talking about racial issues with their friend and had longer and better-quality conversations while those who had blatantly negative racial attitudes had shorter conversations and used avoidant communication strategies to deflect, mask, and avoid revealing negative racial attitudes. Implications for educational practices are discussed.

Whiteness, Prejudice, Racial Injustice, Discrimination, Race Communication, Local Race Politics.
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Annika Karlsen

Graduate Research Assistant , Human Development Family Science, Universtiy of Georgia, United States
United States

Dr. Jennifer Samp

Professor of Communications, University of Georgia, United States
United States