In the immersion stage, the person makes a genuine attempt to connect to his/her own White identity and to be antiracist. This stage is usually accompanied by a deep concern with understanding and relating to other Whites who are or have been dealing with issues of racism. A sense of taking responsibility begins to develop.
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|Stage of White Identity||Common Manifestations||What You Can Do Next|
|Contact||“Colorblind” motto. Sense that talking about racism is a racist act.||Learn about the Contact stage|
|Disintegration||Aware of racism in family or community. Sense of (White) guilt often mixed with curiosity. Focus on individual actions and merit, such as, “I have a black friend.”||Learn about the Disintegration stage|
|Reintegration||Blame-the-victim or other defensive attitudes. Caution, this is a regressive stage!||Learn about the Reintegration stage|
|Pseudo-Independence||Becoming aware of skin color privileges. May look to people of color for teaching. May confuse racism with other kinds of discrimination.||Learn about the Pseudo-Independence stage|
|Concern deepening enough to start conversations with other Whites about racism.||Scroll down for the action steps|
|Autonomy||Positive White identity while also an active antiracist.||Learn about the Autonomy stage|
White Racial Identity Model by Janet E. Helms with adaptations by Anna Stamborski, M. Div Candidate (2022), Nikki Zimmermann, M. Div candidate (2021), and Bailie Gregory, M. Div, M.S. Ed.
What to do next
Take the 21-Day Antiracism Challenge
The University of California San Diego offers a 21-day antiracism challenge packed with insightful information. Register for their webinars, or just go straight to the challenge.
Reflective Journal Prompts
- Think about the country that you live in. What are some of the national racial stereotypes, including spoken and unspoken, historic and modern, associated with Black women? Black men?
- How do you see colorism at work in this country? How do you see colorism at work in your own prejudicial thoughts?
- How have you expected Black women to serve or soothe you?
- How have you reacted in the presence of Black women who are unapologetic in their confidence, self-expression, boundaries, and refusal to submit to White gaze or demands?
When you are ready
- “The Case for Reparations” (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
- “Why Seeing Yourself Represented on Screen Is So Important” (Kimberley Lawson)
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice (Corrine Shutack)
- Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism (Nicola Carpenter)
- The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)
- How to be An Antiracist (Ibram Kendi)
- The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin)
- The New Negro