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Impacts of Racism on White Americans

NCJ Number
B P Bowser, R G Hunt
Date Published
288 pages

This collection of essays, commissioned by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Social Problems, addresses the pervasive issues of race, ethnicity, and racism in America and their impact on institutions and social processes.


Racism is viewed as a white problem because of the hostile reactions of minorities to overt expressions of white racism and also because racist attitudes, behavior, and social structures have direct and indirect impacts on whites. Constructive change in race relations has been impeded by the failure to deal directly with structural aspects of racism and by the wrong conceptualization of racism as a minority problem. The essays specifically cover the concept of racism and its changing reality, the white experience in socialization and racism, emotional and mental health impacts of racism, the negative impact of racism on white values, racism and poverty policies, the economic impact of racism in the postwar period, the role of racism in U.S. foreign relations, racism and class consciousness in modern capitalism, and the creation of interracial coalitions. The essays consider causes and motivations for racism among whites and suggest four ways to eliminate racism: (1) provide more extensive multicultural education and exposure; (2) recognize that corporate and governmental actions can have far reaching social consequences; (3) limit the hold of powerful special interest groups on government to reduce inequality; and (4) realize that government has the power to do both good and harm. 414 references, 8 tables, 7 figures.