Dismantling racism

A narrative analysis of the evolution of and factors influencing White anti-racism action

  • Lauren L. Dawe University of Florida
  • Jennifer A. Jones University of Florida
  • Marilyn E. Swisher University of Florida
  • Paul Ortiz University of Florida
Keywords: White privilege, White identity management, anti-racist action, social justice


Dismantling white privilege requires anti-racist action of some sort. However, there is little research about the factors that influence White people to engage in anti-racist work or what can be done to promote White anti-racist action. We conducted an exploratory qualitative study to address this question where we interviewed White individuals, we had reason to believe were engaged in an anti-racist activity (n = 6). The research question was as follows: To what extent, if any, are the participants aware of their white privilege, and how do they describe their journey to anti-racist action? Findings suggest that dismantling white privilege is a complex journey. Participants engaged in dismantling work described an evolution of the understanding of their white privilege that included influential people that encouraged critical thinking or empathy and some combination of small and large revelatory moments. Participants also spoke to experiences of backtracking or resisting and a constant balancing act related to managing privilege. Scholarly and practical implications of this study are discussed.

Author Biographies

Lauren L. Dawe, University of Florida

Lauren Dawe holds a master's degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida and currently works at the intersection of IT and renewable energy. 

Jennifer A. Jones, University of Florida

Jennifer A. Jones is an assistant professor at the University of Florida. She teaches and researches nonprofit management and leadership. 

Marilyn E. Swisher, University of Florida

Marilyn E. Swisher's work as a social scientist focuses largely on improving the outcomes of the large body of research undertaken by biological scientists. Most of her work occurs in the context of large, multidisciplinary teams of biological and social scientists whose goals center on the sustainability of agricultural production in the United States and globally. 

Paul Ortiz, University of Florida

Paul Ortiz is a professor of history and director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.

How to Cite
Dawe, L., Jones, J., Swisher, M., & Ortiz, P. (2022). Dismantling racism. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 12(2), 68 - 85. Retrieved from https://www.wpcjournal.com/article/view/19659