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Socialization and Racism: The White Experience (From Impacts of Racism on White Americans, P 71-85, 1981, Benjamin P Bowser and Raymond G Hunt, eds. -- See NCJ-121103)

NCJ Number
R M Dennis
Date Published
15 pages
Effects of racist socialization on white children include ignorance of other people, the development of a double social-psychological consciousness, group conformity, and moral and social ambivalence, while racism for the white population in general encourages irrationality, inhibits intellectual growth, and negates democracy.
The socialization of children is designed to instill values, traditions, standards, and codes of behavior. In order to understand the dynamics and impact of racism in the context of socialization, racism must be viewed as a permanent belief system. People engage in racist behavior because they are reasonably sure there is support for it within society. Available evidence supports the contention that there is no such thing as a "happy racist." From the early years of indoctrination by parents, one finds racists angry and afraid that their racial views might shift. There is a need to explore the roots of irrational thought and behavior and to determine the process by which myths, legends, and fantasies become embedded in the psyche as ideological imperatives. Instead of systematically analyzing black life and the black world, it may be useful to study the psychological, ideological, and material reasons that whites accept the myth of white supremacy and deny blacks equal opportunity to participate in American society.


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