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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Stella M. Nkomo and Akram Al Ariss

– The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relies upon the historical literature on work, culture, and society found primarily in the fields of labor history and sociology. It also references contemporary organization studies and sociological literature to illustrate the continuing significance of ethnic (white) privilege in the workplace.

Findings

There is an inexorable link between European global expansion and colonization, industrialization, and the racialization/ethnicization of nineteenth and twentieth century US organizations. Furthermore, the particular manifestations of ethnic (white) privilege today must be understood within its historical development and the new meanings whiteness has acquired within the workplace if scholars and practitioners are to be successful in creating inclusive workplaces.

Research limitations/implications

The focus in this paper is on the USA and ethnic (white) privilege to the exclusion of other forms of difference and contexts. Suggestions for future research are provided along with managerial implications.

Originality/value

This paper provides historical insight into the formation of white privilege in organizations and constitutes a prelude to fully understanding its contemporary manifestations in the workplace. These insights suggest ways to disrupt inequality and create inclusive organizations that do not privilege one ethnic or racial group over another.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Book part
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Kaidi Wu and David Dunning

Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege

Abstract

Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege. Hypocognition is defined as lacking a rich cognitive or linguistic representation (i.e., a schema) of a concept in question. By social privilege, we refer to advantages that members of dominant social groups enjoy because of their group membership. We argue that such group members are hypocognitive of the privilege they enjoy. They have little cognitive representation of it. As a consequence, their social advantage is invisible to them.

Approach – We provide a narrative review of recent empirical work demonstrating and explaining this lack of expertise and knowledge in socially dominant groups (e.g., White People, men) about discrimination and disadvantage encountered by other groups (e.g., Black People, Asian Americans, women), relative what members of those other groups know.

Findings – This lack of expertise or knowledge is revealed by classic cognitive psychological measures. Relative to members of other groups, social dominant group members generate fewer examples of discrimination that other groups confront, remember fewer instances after being presented a list of them, and are slower to respond when classifying whether these examples are discriminatory.

Social Implications – These classic measures of cognitive expertise about social privilege predict social attitude differences between social groups, specifically whether people perceive the existence of social privilege as well as believe discrimination still exists in contemporary society. Hypocognition of social privilege also carries implications for informal interventions (e.g., acting “colorblind”) that are popularly discussed.

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Book part
Publication date: 13 November 2008

Heather Pincock

This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in…

Abstract

This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in Syracuse, NY. The Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, Improve Race Relations and Begin Racial Healing (CWD) organizers share with a wide range of conflict theorists and practitioners the impulse to bring citizens together to talk about complex social conflicts. Two of the main goals of this program, to build participants’ understandings of institutional racism and white privilege, are examined here. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a small sample of dialogue participants, a framework is developed for categorizing participant awareness and understanding of institutional racism and white privilege. The analysis suggests that relatively modest levels of understanding of both concepts should be anticipated from participants both before and after completion of a dialogue of this type. While dramatic changes resulting from the dialogue are not found, the data indicate that the dialogue does have demonstrable impacts on the ways participants think and talk about institutional racism and white privilege. The central challenges faced by participants in understanding the concepts, specifically ability to personalize white privilege and capacity to adopt structural ways of thinking about institutional racism, are identified and described. This research helps to clarify the range of outcomes we can feasibly expect when bringing citizens together to talk about social conflicts by providing a qualitative framework for measuring awareness and understanding of white privilege and institutional racism.

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Pushing the Boundaries: New Frontiersin Conflict Resolution and Collaboration
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-290-6

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Book part
Publication date: 22 February 2013

Shauna A. Morimoto

Purpose – This paper aims to provide insight into high school students’ understanding and experience of citizenship and civic engagement in the United States…

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to provide insight into high school students’ understanding and experience of citizenship and civic engagement in the United States today.Methodological approach – To supplement literature that reports the causes and correlates of youth civic engagement, this qualitative study explores the form and meaning of citizenship to young Americans. Drawing on observations and interviews with 116 high school students aged 14–19 years, this study explores how youth construct the meaning of citizenship and civic engagement.Findings – I find that race and racial identity are emergent in young people's construction of citizenship. Youth articulate the status of citizen on the basis of “privilege” and feel fortunate to be American. Forms of civic engagement vary by race with white students positioning themselves as helpers and delineating lower income minorities as “others” while also engaging in civic activity out of individual motivations and weak community connections. Minority youth express a desire to stay out of trouble, but also contest the boundaries of citizenship through forms of engagement that connect them to community.Value of paper – This paper contributes to understanding how race is emergent for young people's definitions of citizenship and civic actions. In addition to demonstrating how the categories of race and citizen are mutually constructed, it shows the value of looking beyond simple measurements of civic activity and exploring the meaning of youth civic work to gain insight into contemporary youth and democracy.

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Youth Engagement: The Civic-Political Lives of Children and Youth
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-544-9

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Karen A. Geiger and Cheryl Jordan

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the work of those with societal privilege in the practice of inclusion. It outlines the experience of privilege, obstacles raised…

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2003

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the work of those with societal privilege in the practice of inclusion. It outlines the experience of privilege, obstacles raised by the study of women in cross-race relationships, and offers guidance for those with privilege in how to use it in relationships and organizational inclusion efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes lessons from varied literatures about privilege, social justice, and organizational inclusion/diversity and applies them to the work of inclusion for those privileged by race in the USA.

Findings

The paper offers guidance to those with race privilege in the USA. It suggests ways to problematize privilege, how to become a social justice ally, reframe what white means, develop awareness about race dynamics, use empathy cautiously, create a “third culture,” balance multiple identities, and acknowledge numerous power differentials.

Research limitations/implications

Given the specific contexts and social identities chosen here, the conclusions may not generalize. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to extend the experience, obstacles and guidance for those with other kinds of privilege in other contexts.

Practical implications

Because of global demographics, organizations have incorporated a wide range of workforce diversity and now need to maximize practices of inclusion so talent can be fully utilized. This paper provides specific practices that can cause those with privilege to create a truly inclusive environment.

Originality/value

There is very little exploration about the role of those with societal privilege in the definitions and practices of inclusion. This paper's contribution is to outline the work to be done by those privileged.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Doyin Atewologun and Ruth Sealy

In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others”…

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2947

Abstract

Purpose

In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others” are typically assumed not to experience privilege. The authors counter this assumption by applying intersectionality to examine privilege's juxtaposition with disadvantage. The paper offers an elaborated conceptualisation of organisational privilege and insight into the agency employed by individuals traditionally perceived as non-privileged. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Using diaries and interviews, the paper analyses 20 micro-episodes from four senior minority ethnic women and men's accounts of intersecting ethnic, gender and senior identities. The paper identifies how privilege plays out at the juxtaposition of (male gender and hierarchical) advantage with (female gender and ethnic) disadvantage.

Findings

The fluidity of privilege is revealed through contextual, contested and conferred dimensions. Additionally, privilege is experienced in everyday micro-level encounters and the paper illustrates how “sometimes privileged” individuals manage their identities at intersections.

Research limitations/implications

This in-depth analysis draws on a small sample of unique British minority ethnic individuals to illustrate dimensions of privilege.

Practical implications

It is often challenging to discuss privilege. However, the focus on atypical wielders of power challenges binary assumptions of privilege. This can provide a common platform for dominant and non-dominant group members to share how societal and organisational privileges differentially impact groups. This inclusive approach could reduce dominant group members’ psychological and emotional resistance to social justice.

Originality/value

Through bridging privilege and intersectionality perspectives, the paper offers a complex and nuanced perspective that contrasts against prevalent conceptions of privilege as invisible and uncontested.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2017

Ana Campos-Holland

Children and youth of color in White and adult-dominated societies confront racism and adultism that shapes their peer cultures. Yet, the “new” sociology of childhood…

Abstract

Children and youth of color in White and adult-dominated societies confront racism and adultism that shapes their peer cultures. Yet, the “new” sociology of childhood lacks the theory and methodology to explore racialized peer cultures. Thus, this chapter aims to sharpen its research tools. Theoretically, this chapter draws from Technologies of the Self (Foucault, 1988) and Critical Race Theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012) to enhance Valentine’s (1997) “adult-youth binary” and Corsaro’s (2015) “interpretive reproduction.” Methodologically, it combines the “doing research with children” approach (Greig, Taylor, & MacKay, 2013) with Critical Race Methodology (Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) to do research with youth of color. These enhanced research tools are then used to explore how boys and girls of color (n = 150), 9- to 17-year olds, experience peer culture in suburban schools, under police surveillance, and on social media. In the field, interviewers navigated their adult privilege and racial/ethnic positionalities in relation to that of participants and the racial dynamic in the research setting, ultimately aiming to co-create a safe space for counter-storytelling. As a result, this chapter captured how White-dominated peer cultures used racial microaggressions against youth of color in suburban schools, boy peer cultures navigated racialized policing, and online-offline peer cultures curtailed protective and controlling racialized adult surveillance. Theoretically, the racially enhanced interpretive reproduction and adult-youth binary exposed the adultism-racism intersection that shapes youth peer cultures. Methodologically, counter-storytelling revealed the painful realities that youth of color face and that those with adult and/or White privilege would rather ignore.

Details

Researching Children and Youth: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-098-1

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2020

Eddy S. Ng, Greg J. Sears and Muge Bakkaloglu

Building on the notion of “White fragility,” this study aims to explore how Whites react and cope with perceived discrimination at work. Specifically, the authors explore…

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the notion of “White fragility,” this study aims to explore how Whites react and cope with perceived discrimination at work. Specifically, the authors explore whether: (1) Whites react more negatively than minorities when they perceive discrimination at work and (2) Whites are more likely than minorities to restore the status quo by leaving the situation when they perceive discrimination at work.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this study were obtained from the Professional Worker Career Experience Survey. In total, 527 working professionals from multiple organizations across the central USA participated in the survey.

Findings

The authors find evidence that Whites experience more negative psychological effects (i.e. lower job satisfaction and higher work stress) from perceived discrimination than minority employees and are more likely to act to restore conditions of privilege by leaving their current job and employer. The stronger negative effects of perceived discrimination for Whites (vs minorities) were restricted to work outcomes (job satisfaction, work stress, turnover intentions from one's employer) and were not evident with respect to perceptions of overall well-being (i.e. life satisfaction), suggesting that White fragility may play a particularly influential role in work settings, wherein racial stress may be more readily activated.

Originality/value

Consistent with the notion of White fragility, the study’s results demonstrate that the deleterious impact of perceived discrimination on employee work outcomes may, in some cases, be stronger for White than minority employees.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 42 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Book part
Publication date: 16 August 2005

Ashleigh Shelby Rosette and Leigh Thompson

In many organizational settings, status hierarchies result in the conferral of privileges that are based on achievement. However, in the same settings, status may result…

Abstract

In many organizational settings, status hierarchies result in the conferral of privileges that are based on achievement. However, in the same settings, status may result in the bestowal of privileges that are unearned. We argue that these unearned privileges are often awarded based on ascribed characteristics, but are perceived to be achieved. We further argue that these misattributions occur because acknowledging that one has benefited from unearned advantages that are awarded in a meritocracy can be threatening to a person's self-identity. We propose that by studying unearned privileges in organizational settings, a more accurate assessment of status hierarchies may result.

Details

Status and Groups
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-358-7

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Samuel Jaye Tanner

The purpose of this paper is to consider the experience of a white teacher to attain greater understanding of racial identities, especially whiteness, and reconsider the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the experience of a white teacher to attain greater understanding of racial identities, especially whiteness, and reconsider the current understandings of whiteness and whiteness pedagogy. The author argues that notions of whiteness are social constructions, and that reconstructions of conventional understandings of whiteness could provide more nuanced understandings of whiteness that might facilitate more sophisticated considerations of how race and whiteness continue to influence schooling practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses autoethnography, a version of narrative inquiry, to consider issues related to the intersection of whiteness and education. The author recounts, reflects on and interprets a body of experiential knowledge to illuminate the experience of being a white teacher in both a racially diverse school and one that was more homogeneously white. These experiences are interpreted and placed in the context of scholarly work to frame an argument regarding a more sophisticated conceptualization of whiteness and its position in efforts toward inclusive and mutli-cultural education.

Findings

This paper closes with the argument that whiteness needs to be troubled and understood in more sophisticated ways than a traditional white privilege framework has allowed and accounted for directly in school settings in the USA.

Originality/value

This paper is original and valuable, mostly because it uses narrative to share the unique and complex experience of a white teacher who attempted to account for and consider the presence of whiteness over the 30 years in his career.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

Keywords

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