White University Students' Responses to Societal Racism: A Qualitative Investigation

Lisa B. Spanierman, Euna Oh, V. Paul Poteat, Anita R. Hund, Vetisha L. Mcclair, Amanda M. Beer, Alexis M. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this investigation was to extend earlier conceptual and empirical literature on the ways in which White individuals respond to societal racism. To this end, the authors conducted in-depth interviews to examine 11 midwestern, non-Hispanic, White university students' reactions and experiences related to individual and institutional forms of racism perpetrated against people of color. We used the consensual qualitative research method to analyze these data. Results suggested that White students varied in their understanding of and responses to racism. Three topic domains, each consisting of a number of subcategories, reflected participants' varied responses to racism: (a) affective, (b) social, and (c) cognitive. Findings add to the existing literature by identifying in greater depth the multiple ways in which dominant group members respond to societal racism. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-870
Number of pages32
JournalThe Counseling Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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