The expanded psychosocial model of racism: A new model for understanding and disrupting racism and white privilege

Helen A. Neville, Lisa B. Spanierman, Jioni A. Lewis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we provide an analysis of racism and White privilege in the age of Obama—that is, at a moment in U.S. history marked by certain advancements in terms of racial progress, but mired in long-established social relationships that continue to produce significant inequalities influencing the daily lives of people of color. The terms racism and White privilege are used in everyday language, and many of us can write volumes about these interrelated topics on the basis of our own experiences. Surprisingly, however, there is little consensus in the scholarly literature about what these terms mean. We thus begin the chapter with definitions of these key concepts. Building on the interdisciplinary research, next we present the expanded psychosocial model of racism. The model provides a heuristic for describing processes related to the ways in which racism and White privilege manifest themselves in individuals, interpersonal interactions, and society. The model is dynamic and incorporates the experiences of those who are in positions of power (i.e., White Americans) and those who are targets of racism (i.e., people of color, including American Indians, Asian Americans, Blacks, and Latinos); thus, we extend our analysis beyond the typical Black–White binary that often is found in the counseling psychology literature. We detail each aspect of the model and highlight empirical research that supports each dimension. We conclude with a discussion of potential actions that we as individuals and as helping professionals can take to disrupt racism and promote social justice.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAPA handbook of counseling psychology
Subtitle of host publicationPractice, interventions, and applications
EditorsNadya A. Fouad, Jean A. Carter, Linda M. Subich
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISBN (Print)978-1-43381-109-8
StatePublished - 2012


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