Kelly A. Douglas
I was born, raised, and got my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in Wisconsin, US. Since then, my professional career largely focussed on advocacy, fundraising, and communications. In my free time, I found myself increasingly interested and involved in anti-racist work but did not know how to talk about it with the people closest to me. Instead, I had heated exchanges, withdrew from conversations, and at worst, severed relationships—and found other anti-racist activists had similar challenges. I knew there had to be a better way to discuss this issue. So I came to LSE for the MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology programme and conducted research on how American White anti-racist activists effectively confront racial prejudice and discrimination with other White Americans. I hope to continue this research in a PhD programme, and provide tools for White anti-racist activists as social change agents in the fight against racial prejudice and discrimination.
‘What did you mean by that?’: American White allies’ perceptions and experiences of confronting racial prejudice within close relationships.
Supervisor: Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington
Many White individuals recognise the need to take action given the pervasive negative consequences of racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Interpersonal confrontations to prejudice present one option. Though there is significant evidence on interpersonal confrontations to prejudice—with influence from attitude change, social influence research—there are stark gaps on interpersonal confrontations between White individuals and their White family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews to understand the perceptions and experiences of 21 American White allies who confront racial prejudice within close relationships with other White people. Thematic networks reflect how they define ‘effective’ interpersonal confrontations to racial prejudice, what practices and strategies they employ to effectively confront racial prejudice, how confrontations may be complicated by close relationships, and what motivates them to confront close others. This research provides elements necessary for a ‘toolkit’ to interrupt racial prejudice while caring for oneself and others. Participants’ insights can potentially aid other White individuals in confronting prejudiced and discriminatory incidents when they occur.