QUESTION: Black and White Tensions

question / pregunta: 

I currently teach a contemporary issues course at a local senior center here in Baltimore. The racial make up is 100% white. Do you have any suggestions articles that I could use in my class that may help enlighten us, without insulting those of color, especially those who are African-American, as to what it is like to be 'non-white'? Soon, I will be teaching a similar course through the Community College of Baltimore County and wish to use some of the material, if appropriate, for this topic there.

I wish to help bridge the gap between white and black in the United States. I wish to make inter-racial white and black couples not only 'acceptable' in our society, but looked upon without any prejudices.

Can you help?

With regards, your 'white allie'


The first thing I thought of when reading your question was a short article called "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" (also available ) by Peggy McIntosh. It's included in a collection called edited by Paula S. Rothenberg, which has a number of other articles and essays that might be useful. Unfortunately is not available at either the Community College of Baltimore County Libraries or the Baltimore County Public Library, but you might be able to reqeust a copy through interlibrary loan. (; BCPL interlibrary loan information)

There are a lot of articles that might pertain to your classes. I have listed a few below. You can find more by searching library databases of magazines, journals, and newspapers (I used Academic Search Premier, which is available through CCBC) for terms such as "white privilege," "race awareness," "race discrimination," etc. If you need help in locating an article or in searching the databases, librarians at CCBC or the BCPL should be able to help you. You should also feel free to contact Radical Reference again if you need more assistance.

Tessman, Lisa. "The Racial Politics of Mixed Race." Journal of Social Philosophy 30, no. 2 (1999): 276-294. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2007).

"THE BLACK WOMAN'S WORKPLACE SURVIVAL GUIDE." Essence 37, no. 12 (2007): 160-190. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2007). [An instructor I once had assigned us to look at traditionally African-American publications as a way to get a sense of what it's like to be black. I found it a useful assignment, so I included this article, which showed up in one of my searches.]

Branscombe, Nyla R., Schmitt, Michael T., and Kristin Schiffhauer. "Racial attitudes in response to thoughts of white privilege." European Journal of Social Psychology 37, no. 2 (2007): 203-215. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2007).

Lee-St. John, Jeninne. "THE MEANING OF WHITE." Time 168, no. 11 (2006): 21-21. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2007).

Gatania, Sara. "A IS FOR AFRO." Mother Jones 31, no. 5 ([YEAR]): 70-77. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2007).

Below are some other books, articles, and videos that might be helpful. All are available at either the Community College of Baltimore County Libraries or the Baltimore County Public Library.

CCBC Libraries
White Privilege: Getting in on the Conversation [videorecording]. [Seattle, WA]: Bush School, 2005. You can read more about the video and guide.

Schaefer, Richard T. Race and Ethnicity in the United States. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007.

Multicultural Understanding [videorecording]. Huntsville, Tex. : Educational Video Network, 2004.

Romano, Renee Christine. Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Baltimore County Public Library
Here's a link to the catalog, which doesn't seem to want to let me make permalinks to it.
Kivel, Paul. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1996.

Barnes, Annie S. Everyday Racism: A Book for All Americans. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2000.