Note: If using a phone, rotate the screen for better viewing of the results.
The reintegration stage is marked by a “blame-the-victim” attitude that’s more intense than anything experienced in the contact or disintegration stage. Individuals may feel that, although Whites do have some privileges, they probably deserve them and are, in some ways, superior to minority groups. If the person can combat these feelings of shame, guilt, defensiveness, or superiority, they may be able to move on to the next stage of a positive white identity. However, many well-meaning White people get stuck in this negative identity when the pain of racial injustice feels confusing or overwhelming and there is not enough support.
|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!||Scroll down for the action steps|
|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|
|Immersion/Emersion||Concern deepening enough to start conversations with other Whites about racism.||Learn about the Immersion stage|
|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
Remember that openness is essential. It might be helpful to revisit some of the previous resources. Also, remind yourself of why this self-reflective work is fundamental to meeting the stated goals of a democratic society: liberty and justice for all. Continue to find a way to participate. Some examples might include attending training, joining an allies group, or participating in a protest. Instead of settling into shame, keep working to take care of strong feelings, and find ways to positively connect with others who want a more just society.
When you are ready
Start the 21-Day Antiracism Challenge
Section 1: How We Got Here may help you understand how and why good people carry racist ideas in societies like the U.S. and U.K., where racist ideas are part of the country’s foundations. This section also explores the harms to all of us from racist ideas.
- “Side Effects of White Women” (Small Doses with Amanda Seales)
- “Well Meaning White People” (Smartest Person in the Room)
- “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” (Audre Lorde)
- “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels” (Rachel Elizabeth Cargle)
- Me and White Supremacy (Layla F Saad)
- “Bloomberg and The Legacy of Stop-and-Frisk” (The Daily Show)