There are many responses people may have when they realize that the need for a change in the role of white people. Many white Americans are uncomfortable with this changing role and can respond in many ways that are inefficient. White privilege is such a huge part of our daily lives that many white people do not even acknowledge that it happens. Overt racism and hate crimes have been on the rise in recent years. Hostility is a way some people cope with the painful realization that their world is changing. Another feeling people may have is guilt. While guilt is also unhelpful, it can act as a motivator to spur people to action. The most prevalent feeling, though, is denial. If we do not accept that white privilege exists then we do not have to deal with it.
As educators, it is important that we do everything we can to support multicultural education. It is crucial that the curriculum transitions and includes more perspectives. The time of the Eurocentric view is over. As Gary Howard (1996) says, “racism drains the essential vitality from everyone, victimizing our entire society” (p. 330). The new multicultural education curriculum will need time to evolve, as our current curriculum has had, but we need to overcome the guilt and respond with definitive action toward a more inclusive curriculum. Co-responsibility is crucial, and we all need to learn the power of respect.
Banks, J. A. (1996). J.A. Banks (Ed.). Multicultural education, transformative knowledge and action: Historical and contemporary perspectives. New York: Teachers College Press.