The Whiteness Project: Facing Race In A Changing America

The Whiteness Project: Facing Race In A Changing America

National Public Radio
All Things Considered

Karen Grigsby Bates
Los Angeles Correspondent

Whitney Dow found participants in the Whiteness Project by putting out a call for interested white folks in Buffalo to talk about whiteness on tape.

The voices in the Whiteness Project vary by gender, age and income, but they all candidly express what it is like to be white in an increasingly diverse country.

“I don’t feel that personally I’ve benefited from being white. That’s because I grew up relatively poor,” a participant shared. “My father worked at a factory.” These are the kind of unfiltered comments that filmmaker Whitney Dow was hoping to hear when he started recording a group of white people, and hoped to turn their responses into provocative, interactive videos.

“I was essentially giving people permission to discuss this,” he says. “And I believe there’s a huge hunger in this country to engage this topic.”…

…”It is not typical for white people to think about their race,” says Catherine Orr, who teaches critical identity studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She says that many white people who don’t feel privileged struggle against the notion that race gives them an inherent advantage. “I think white folks are terribly invested in our own innocence,” she points out. “We don’t want to think about how what we have is related to what other people don’t have.”…

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