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First You Are White, Then You Are Different

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021609/00001

Material Information

Title: First You Are White, Then You Are Different First Generation Immigrants Negotiating Whiteness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (71 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bianchi, Georgia E
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: europe, immigration, race, south, whiteness
Sociology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Sociology thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study utilizes qualitative data collected from first generation immigrants living in the southeastern United States to examine the negotiation of a white racial identity. Data were collected in same-race and race-mixed group interviews of two to four participants. Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of symbolic interactionism and intersectionality, this study examines the ways in which a white racial identity is negotiated, and how it is tied to developing a racially progressive consciousness. Results focused on the interaction between whiteness and immigration to examine whiteness as a situated, relational identity. Additionally, interview data suggest that one?s white racial identity is conditional, where accessibility to white privilege was often mediated by factors such as language, accent and dress. The study also explores whether the participants' unique social location, as racially privileged yet marginalized as immigrants, can lead to a progressive racial consciousness. The implications of the study are twofold: first, by addressing how phenotypically white immigrants negotiate a racial identity, I complicate the static conceptualization of whiteness as privilege. Secondly, the development of a racially progressive consciousness by those in a racially privileged position can lead to social change, both here and in the participants' home countries.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Georgia E Bianchi.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Vera, Hernan.
Local: Co-adviser: Ceobanu, Alin.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021609:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021609/00001

Material Information

Title: First You Are White, Then You Are Different First Generation Immigrants Negotiating Whiteness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (71 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bianchi, Georgia E
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: europe, immigration, race, south, whiteness
Sociology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Sociology thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study utilizes qualitative data collected from first generation immigrants living in the southeastern United States to examine the negotiation of a white racial identity. Data were collected in same-race and race-mixed group interviews of two to four participants. Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of symbolic interactionism and intersectionality, this study examines the ways in which a white racial identity is negotiated, and how it is tied to developing a racially progressive consciousness. Results focused on the interaction between whiteness and immigration to examine whiteness as a situated, relational identity. Additionally, interview data suggest that one?s white racial identity is conditional, where accessibility to white privilege was often mediated by factors such as language, accent and dress. The study also explores whether the participants' unique social location, as racially privileged yet marginalized as immigrants, can lead to a progressive racial consciousness. The implications of the study are twofold: first, by addressing how phenotypically white immigrants negotiate a racial identity, I complicate the static conceptualization of whiteness as privilege. Secondly, the development of a racially progressive consciousness by those in a racially privileged position can lead to social change, both here and in the participants' home countries.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Georgia E Bianchi.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Vera, Hernan.
Local: Co-adviser: Ceobanu, Alin.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021609:00001


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FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU ARE DIFFERENT: FIRST GENERATION
IMMIGRANTS NEGOTIATING WHITENESS




















By

GEORGIA E. BIANCHI


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007

































O 2007 Georgia E. Bianchi





























To my husband, without whose support my graduate career would never have taken flight.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my advisory committee for being especially patient and supportive. I thank my

participants for their candid willingness to talk about their experiences as immigrants, and I

thank my cohort and the department for the intellectual and emotional support they have given

me throughout the years.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........7


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE ................. ...............9................


Introducti on ................. ...............9.................
Research Questions .............. ...............10....
Significance ................ ...............12.................

2 LITERATURE REVIEW .............. ...............14....


Theoretical Influences .............. ...............14....

Symbolic Interactionism............... .............1
Intersectionality ................. ...............16.......... .....
Empirical Literature Review............... ...............18.
Intersectionality and Immigration .............. ...............18....
W hite racial identity .............. ...............20....
Immigration and Whiteness............... ...............2
Whites and Racial Progressiveness .............. ...............23....
This Research's Contribution .............. ...............25....


3 M ETHODS .............. ...............26....


Research Design .............. ...............26....
The Group Interview .............. ...............26....
Instrument ................. ...............27.................

Sam ple ................ ............... ...............29.......
Determining eligibility .............. ...............29....
Sample characteristics ................ ...............29.................
A note on participants of color ................. ...............31...............
Analy si s .............. ...............3 1....
Concerns ............... .. ...............32...

My Immigrant Experience ................. ...............32........... ....
Participants' Educational Level ................. ...............34........... ....
Pilot Studies ................. ...............35.................


4 FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU ARE DIFFERENT: NEGOTIATING
WHITENE S S ............_...... ...............37...


Immigrants and W hiteness .................. ........ ..............3
Race and the U.S. South: Situated Whiteness .............. ...............37....












The U.S. South as racist .............. ...............38....
The U.S. South as multicultural .............. .............. .. ... .........4
"You Are White But Not American": Whiteness as Relational and Conditional ...........41
Accent ................. ...............42........._.....
D ress ................ ...............44........ ......
Skin tone ................ ...............45........ ......
Sum m ary ................. ...............45........ ......


5 THE POTENTIAL FOR RACIALLY PROGRESSIVE WHITES ........._.._....... ............ ...47


White Immigrants and the Potential for Racially Progressive Consciousness ................... ....47
Parameters for Racial progressiveness ................. ...............48................
Recognizing racism .............. ... ............ ...............48.......
Marginalization, privilege, and racial progressiveness .............. .....................4
Taking action............... ...............52.
Cautions ................. ...............53.................
Summary ................. ...............53.................


6 DISCUSSION AND FUTURE WORK............... ...............55..


Summary and Discussion of the Findings ................. ...............55...............
Summary of Findings .............. ............ ....... .. .........5
Giving meaning to race as situated, relational, and conditional ............... .... ...........55
Racial progressiveness .............. ...............56....
Discussion of Findings .............. .. ............ ....... ...............57..
White racial identity: whiteness and nationality .............. ...............57....
Old World regionalism and racial beliefs .............. ...............57....
Racial progressiveness and constructing the other .......................__ ..............58
T he language of solid arity ............. ...... ._ ...............60...
Sample size............... ...............61..
Future Avenues for Research ............. ...... ._ ...............61...

Regional Differences .............. .. .......___ .. ........__ .............6
Comparing White Immigrants and Native-born Whites .............. ....................6
Comparing White Immigrants with Immigrants of Color ....._____ ..... .. ....__..........62
Conclusion ............ _...... ._ ...............62....


LIST OF REFERENCES ............_ ..... ..__ ...............65...


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............71....









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU ARE DIFFERENT: FIRST GENERATION
IMMIGRANTS NEGOTIATING WHITENESS

By

Georgia E. Bianchi

December 2007

Chair: Hernan Vera
Cochair: Alin Ceobanu
Major: Sociology
This study utilizes qualitative data collected from first generation immigrants living in the

southeastern United States to examine the negotiation of a white racial identity. Data were

collected in same-race and race-mixed group interviews of two to four participants. Drawing on

the theoretical perspectives of symbolic interactionism and intersectionality, this study examines

the ways in which a white racial identity is negotiated, and how it is tied to developing a racially

progressive consciousness.

Results focused on the interaction between whiteness and immigration to examine

whiteness as a situated, relational identity. Additionally, interview data suggest that one's white

racial identity is conditional, where accessibility to white privilege was often mediated by factors

such as language, accent and dress.

The study also explores whether the participants' unique social location, as racially

privileged yet marginalized as immigrants, can lead to a progressive racial consciousness.

The implications of the study are twofold: first, by addressing how phenotypically white

immigrants negotiate a racial identity, I complicate the static conceptualization of whiteness as

privilege. Secondly, the development of a racially progressive consciousness by those in a










racially privileged position can lead to social change, both here and in the participants' home

countries.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE

Introduction

The concepts of race and race relations continue to play an enormous role in shaping

individual lives in American society. Numerous studies have shown that discrimination by race

is still an important factor in the U. S. (Bonilla-Silva 1997, 2006, Feagin, Vera and Batur 2001,

Massey and Lundy 2001) whether in the context of housing market, mortgage or car loans,

education and occupations. Yet, the predominant social discourse is one of downplaying race as

an important factor in everyday life (Bonilla-Silva 2006), and the privileges associated with a

white racial identity remain largely unexamined., "invisible to those who benefit from it the

most." (Rothenberg 2002:3)

This exploratory study aims to present the personal experiences of immigrants in relation

to race and racial discrimination in the U.S. South. Further, it will focus on phenotypically white

immigrants and their experiences in developing a white racial identity, exposing whether their

unique position as both white and immigrant allows for a more progressive racial consciousness.

A large portion of my sample is phenotypically white, originating mostly from Eastern Europe,

and thus has the option of engaging a privileged racial position in contrast to other participants in

the sample, who could be categorized as people of color once in the United States (Feagin et al

2001, McIntosh 1988, Omi and Winant 1994.) Focusing on these participants allows me to

examine the experiences of discrimination in a group of people who are in a position to access

white privilege, as well as to examine whether this white privilege is made available to them.

Data was collection in four group interviews, with two to four participants in each group,










yielding ten participants. Using line-by-line coding I searched for emerging themes and

concepts relating to my research questions.



I examine the particular meanings that people born and socialized outside the U.S. give to

race once they arrive and live in their new country. Immigrants in U.S. society can serve as

"outsiders within"(Collins 1986), as they must learn socially sanctioned rules, and adapt to the

racial dynamics they encounter upon arrival at the same time that they need to adapt their

previously acquired beliefs on racial matters. How they come to give meaning to a white racial

identity can make discrimination more visible, and can highlight the privileges they come to

enj oy over other participants of color in the sample.

Most research and public discourse on the interplay between immigration and race

currently centers on migration from Mexico into the U.S. (Santa Ana, 2002.) The experiences of

immigrants who would be classified as white are particularly missing from contemporary

research. Most recent publications on immigration and race in the U.S. center on the wave at the

turn of the 20th century, when Irish, Italian and Germans dominated the migration flows.

(Guglielmo 2003, Guglielmo and Salerno 2003, Ignatiev 1995, Roediger 2006). Further, the

analyses often ignore the importance of race as it affects whites; much theorizing on whites deals

with ethnicity rather than race. This thesis will engage a more complicated conceptualization of

whiteness and white privilege, offering instances where one's privileged racial status does not

always afford social privileges.

Research Questions

This research centers on two main questions: (1) How do participants give meaning to a

white racial identity derived from their skin color and ethnicity? and (2) Does their unique

social position as white-skinned but not American lead to racial tolerance?









The first question addresses how phenotypically white immigrants give meaning to race in

the U.S. context. Whites in the U.S. generally deny belonging to a race (Bonilla-Silva 2006,

Feagin et al2001, Stoddart 2002), giving little if any racial meaning to whiteness, and obscuring

their role in a racial hierarchy that privileges whites. I posit that phenotypically white immigrants

must go through a racial "learning process" (Stoddart 2002) in which they recognize more

readily the privileges afforded to people who are classified as white.

Further, I aim to see if and how immigrants who are phenotypically white access white

privilege and on what terms. While the area of research on whiteness and white privilege has

been growing in recent years (McDermott and Samson 2005), little has been done to validate

how white racial identity and white privilege are experienced in people's everyday lives. I expect

to Eind that white privilege is not automatically granted to all those who look white, and aim to

understand in what ways access to this privilege is made possible.

The second question addresses whether phenotypically white immigrants are uniquely

positioned to develop a racially progressive, more tolerant consciousness. Defined as an

awareness of privilege experienced due to one' s white race, a recognition of racial discrimination

faced by people of color, and anti-racist action, a racially progressive consciousness in whites is

intimately linked to the meaning given to race in one's own life. I posit that immigrants have the

potential to develop a racially progressive consciousness due to the learning process they

encounter regarding race in the U.S., as well as the discrimination they personally face as

immigrants. Participants voiced opposition to discrimination as experienced by themselves, as

well as what they perceived others to have experienced. I ask whether one's experience of

racism and discrimination leads to the development of a racially progressive consciousness, and

whether this has translated into solidarity with those who are perceived to suffer discrimination. I









also ask whether this can extend beyond the boundaries of the United States to include

addressing racism and discrimination in the participants' home countries.

Significance

It must be noted that phenotypically white immigrants do not constitute a numerical

maj ority in contemporary immigration flows (Portes and Rumbaut 1996), and that demographic

proj sections cast that non-Hispanic whites will only constitute fifty percent of the population in

the year 2050 (U. S. Census Bureau 2004), as opposed to the current 72%. Why is it important to

study white immigrants and whiteness at all, if the white population is declining and immigrants

to the U.S. are largely non-white?

One reason to continue to study whiteness is that, regardless of numerical maj ority or

minority, whiteness remains embedded as a privileged position in the hierarchy of race.

Structural racism is based on a racial hierarchy, whereby the "race placed in the superior position

tends to receive greater economic remuneration and access to better occupations... occupies a

primary position in the political system, is granted higher social estimation..." (Bonilla-Silva

1997:.469). Those who are able to claim a white identity, then, can reap benefits unavailable to

people of color. Another reason to investigate whiteness is that many immigrants who may be

attributed a minority racial status by others self-identify as white, as in the case of 50% of the

Mexican origin population, according to the 1990 Census (Murguia and Forman 2003).This

emphasizes the fluidity of racial categories, whose meanings shift over time and accommodate to

contemporary definitions. So, on the one hand, whiteness has a structural significance as

conceptualized within a hierarchical framework of race, and on the other there is the significance

of race on a personal level. Whiteness, then, is not an endangered racial category, and continues

to have significance in race and ethnic studies.









The significance of this research is twofold: adding complexity to our understanding on

white racial identity by including the experiences of immigrants, as well as assessing the

potential for the development of a racially progressive consciousness. First, this research will

contribute to the few empirical studies of immigrants' white racial identity in the contemporary

United States. It will also attempt to expand the notion of whiteness, moving beyond a

conceptualization of a static, invisible and ever-present asset to a more situational identity whose

ability to access white privilege varies upon many conditions.

Secondly, the development of a racially progressive consciousness and, more importantly,

turning that consciousness into action, can be a catalyst for change, at a personal and structural

level. Eliminating discrimination is one of the declared aims of most Western societies today, yet

there is little dialogue on discrimination or racism, and even less a discussion of the privileges

afforded to whites. Perhaps experiencing discrimination and privilege contemporaneously in

one's day to day life can foster a willingness to challenge discrimination and racism, both in

one's immediate environment as well as in one's home country.

In order to contextualize this study, the second chapter will review the literature on

immigration and race, white racial identity, as well as theories of race in the U. S.. The third

chapter will detail the methods and sample used in the thesis research, and the remaining

chapters will present the results.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


Theoretical Influences

Two main theoretical influences are guiding this research; symbolic interactionism

(Blumer 1969) and intersectionality (Collins 2000). Rather than strictly follow particular

methodologies associated with these theoretical perspectives, I cull useful elements from each

and use them to inform my theoretical perspective.

Symbolic Interactionism

Because I am interested in the meanings participants give to their experiences with race,

symbolic interactionism is a useful theoretical perspective to engage. Developed initially by

George Herbert Mead (1972), the symbolic interactionist approach emphasizes the meanings that

people assign to everyday interactions, and the ways in which this affects their understanding of

the world. As further developed by Blumer (1969) and Goffman (1959), symbolic interactionism

shifted the theoretical focus of much sociological inquiry from the obj ective to the subj ective,

from structure to interpersonal interaction, from macro to micro level analysis (Cuff, Sharrock,

and Francis 2003). The emphasis on studying individuals and micro-level interaction is

important to my research proj ect, as I aim to understand how people give meaning to race in their

everyday lives.

Symbolic interactionism further stresses the interpersonal relations as a key to one's

development of a sense of self and, therefore, to one's understanding of the world. A person not

only has a sense of one' s own identity, but that sense is shaped by interaction with others and an

interpretation of others' perception of one' s self. This is aptly described by the term "the looking

glass self' (Cooley [1902] 1956), wherein people develop a sense of self in concert with what

they interpret others' views towards themselves to be. This becomes especially important in the










participants' development of a racial sense of self within a U. S. context, because, as we shall see,

the way that people begin to give meaning to a racial self is through interaction with others.

Further, symbolic interactionism elevates people' s perceptions of reality as an important

part of the data to analyze. This is best known as the Thomas theorem, in which W.I. Thomas

states: "If [people] define situations as real, they are real in their consequences." This statement

allows me to analyze the respondent' s narratives and privilege the meanings they give to certain

situations, regardless of whether I would assign different meanings to them.

In my analysis, there are some instances in which the respondents' interpretation of a

situation would differ from my own. For example, in one interview, a young female graduate

student from Eastern Europe and phenotypically white, described a situation in which she felt

discriminated against because of race. Taking place in a grocery store, the black cashier had let

other black customers with fewer items in front of her, and she interpreted this situation as

indicative of racial discrimination. While it may have been likely that the cashier let people in

front of her because they had fewer items and she had an entire cartload, a matter of convenience

rather than of discrimination, it is not important that I try to rationalize the racial meaning the

participant has assigned to the situation Rather, I must privilege her interpretation of the

incident, and draw from it an analysis of the meanings she gives to race in that instance.

Adopting elements of a symbolic interactionist approach, then, allows me to privilege people's

understandings of race and give importance to the social interactions that activate and shape

these understandings.

However, there are limitations to any body of theory. Symbolic interactionism is unsuited

in all situations, and one such situation is analyzing the importance of structure and power as it

applies to race. While privileging an analysis of race as socially constructed through everyday










experiences is important, symbolic interactionism's focus on the micro level must be tempered

with an approach that allows for the analysis of power and structure. An intersectional approach

allows for greater flexibility in researching relevant forces shaping racial experiences, linking the

personal to the structural for a critical analysis of processes and power.



Intersectionality

The intersectional approach was popularized by Patricia Hill Collins (1986), and has

remained an important contribution to sociological theory. Collins thus introduced the

significance of looking not only at gender or race individually, but at gender, race and class

simultaneously. Only by simultaneously analyzing these dimensions of oppression could

research reach a better understanding and theorizing of black women' s simultaneous oppression

as black and as women..

The approach originated because black women, as Collins showed, had been doubly

forgotten and ignored in scholarly research proj ects, as results were generalized to black women

in terms of belonging either to the black race or the female sex. Research addressing either race

or gender did not present accurate analyses of black women' s experiences, and only a

simultaneous analysis of race, gender and class could. By transcending a dualistic and

oppositional paradigm, often pitting gender or race as the primary lens of discrimination, the

intersectional approach recognizes the multiple facets of discrimination against black women.

While Collins addressed black women in particular, she acknowledged that other groups

may benefit from an intersectional analysis, and that each group would have a specific set of

salient interlocking factors (Collins 2000) in addition to race, class, and gender. Scholars have

identified other factors to include in an intersectional approach, such as sexuality (Grewal and










Kaplan 2001, Thorne 1995), age, religion, nation, and citizenship, in order to better analyze

particular groups' experiences.

Another important advantage of the intersectional approach is the conceptualization of the

"outsider within" elaborated from Georg Simmel's The Stranger (Simmel as quoted in Wolff

1950). Collins places black women sociologists as "outsiders within" the discipline of sociology

due to their particular social location in U.S. society, and theorizes that their perspective can add

to the field by challenging some of the norms, reevaluating key assumptions, and bringing

another point of view to the discipline of sociology.

Adapting intersectionality to my research, my analysis engages race, class, and gender as

well as immigration as important interlocking factors when analyzing immigrant experiences

with race. By selecting phenotypically white immigrants to participate in a study on race, I

engage participants who are privileged in some dimensions (race, educational level) and

marginalized in others (as immigrants, as women for some of the participants).

Likewise, I place people who immigrate as "outsiders within" in the larger U. S. society,

and theorize that an intersectional analysis of their experiences will add a dimension to the

construction of a white racial identity, and generate a better understanding of how privilege and

marginalization can serve to foster racial progressiveness among whites. Because they have gone

through a "learning process" (Stoddart 2002) as "outsiders" to the racial hierarchy in the U.S.,

immigrants are more likely than white Americans to have considered whiteness as a racial

identity and be able to talk about it.

Recent work addressing the difficulty in conducting intersectional research (McCall 2005)

points to the value of interdisciplinary research and to the exploration of marginalization as a

process rather than as a given condition of any society. While the complexity of conducting









intersectional research poses a challenge for any scholar, the benefits of this approach merit a

concerted effort to add to the literature and to reach a more complex understanding of the

intersectionality of immigration.

Empirical Literature Review

The following section explores the empirical areas relevant to my research, engaging

themes of intersectionality, immigration, whiteness and work on white racial progressiveness.



Intersectionality and Immigration

While the empirical literature on immigration acknowledges that discrimination in the U.S.

is based on economic, racial or gendered factors, qualitative works rarely engages all three

simultaneously to provide a more complete analysis. My study endeavors to fill that gap and link

the intersectional approach to immigration, adapting the approach to best capture the experiences

of immigrants in the U.S..

Intersectional analyses of immigrants are rare, although race, gender, and class are

addressed individually in several case studies. Gender and migration are examined together, as

the field has begun to consider the ways in which migration can be a gendered process and hold

differing outcomes for women and men (Chant and Radcliffe 1992, Hondagneu-Sotelo 1992,

1994, Kofman 2004, Pedraza 1991, Pessar 1999, Tienda and Booth 1991). Studies of race and

migration are also abundant, (Denton and Massey 1989, Warikoo 2005, Woldemikael 1989),

especially with regard to the racial formation of Latinos and Asians in the U. S. (Omi and Winant

1994).

Within gender scholarship, much research has been conducted on various facets of

immigration. For example, the intersection of immigration and gender is evident in the literature

on carework (Aranda 2003, Litt and Zimmerman 2003), violence (Menjivar and Salcido 2002),









mothering (Dreby 2005, Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila 1997, Moon 2003) and social networks

(Hagan 1998).

Intersectional analyses of immigrants engaging race, class and gender simultaneously are

rare, although a few works approach migration using this method of analysis. (Brah 1993, Essed

1996, Raijman and Semyonov 1997). A most recent example is Shu-Ju Ada Cheng' s (2003)

analysis of foreign domestic workers in Taiwan. The intersectional approach she adopted

allowed a much more complex analysis of how discrimination against the workers was racialized

and gendered, implicating state policies (in terms of withholding of citizenship), the racialization

of the foreign as essentially different from the native population, and the gendered nature of

carework as simultaneously marginalizing foreign domestic workers. The intersectional analysis

allowed Cheng to move beyond one-dimensional analyses of discrimination and provide a more

complex understanding of the construction of marginalization in Taiwan.

Ethnographically inclined research (Torre 2001, Berger 2004), where immigrant women

share their experiences which are then recounted in narrative form, is also a forum for

intersections of race, class and gender emerge from personal narratives. Although the authors

may not formally espouse an intersectional approach, the resulting immigrant narratives show

the significance of interlocking factors in determining their experiences in their adopted

countries. The women in Andrea Torre's (Torre 2001) recounting of immigrant experiences in

Italy clearly mention their encounters with gendered and racialized discrimination, as well as an

ascription of class that often does not match their own perceptions of themselves. In applying a

more explicit intersectional analysis to my own work, I intend to emphasize the gendered and

classed dimensions of the participants' experiences with race.









White racial identity

As evidenced by the introductory chapter, an important focus of this research proj ect is the

expansion of work on white racial identity as an important facet to better understanding the

larger issues of race and ethnicity in the United States. The origins of whiteness studies lie at the

turn of the 20th century, when scholars of color included examinations of whiteness as part of

the larger study of race and ethnicity. (DuBois 2004). However, as McDermott and Samson

(2005) suggest, the focus of much of recent scholarship in U.S.-based race and ethnic studies has

been on minorities:

Sociologists of race and ethnicity have rightfully criticized the almost exclusive focus on

nonwhites in studies of racial identity, implying that whites have no racial identity but are instead

treated as the base group to which others are compared.(McDermott and Samson 2005:250).

In order to better understand race and racism, it is important to also research the supposed

beneficiaries of racial discrimination (Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin, Vera, and Batur

2001, McKinney 2005). The current politics of colorblind racism (Bonilla-Silva 2006, Omi and

Winant 1997) are based on the white denial of a white race and, consequently, race-based

privilege (of which they are recipients). By casting "whiteness" as a racial identity, researchers

can implicate whites in a racial hierarchy of privilege and discrimination, and emphasize each

person's involvement in this system.

Therefore, an examination of white privilege is key to understanding a white racial

identity. A particular characteristic intrinsic to white racial identity as it has been largely defined

in sociological studies is the concept of white privilege. White privilege is defined as the

unearned privileges people enj oy due to a privileged racial position, and can extend from

occupational and educational advantages to everyday security and authority. McIntosh's (1988)

exploration of white privilege in her own life is a meditation on the "invisible" advantages that










being white affords people in the U.S.. She casts these privileges invisible to the people who

possess them, unrecognized unless one has gone through a particularly intense period of self-

criticism. Further, other researchers have noted that white privilege is not only something whites

can access personally, but it is something that has been built into many institutions in U.S.

society (Bonilla Silva 2006, Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin et al 2001, McKinney 2005).

In analyzing white privilege, it is important to explore to what degree this privilege is

accessible by whites and in what manners this access may be modified. While there have been

some studies that problematize universal access to white privilege by looking at poor, rural

(Buck 2001) or working class (Hartigan 1999) whites' reduced access to it, white privilege is still

largely under-researched. Further, there are other ways in which white racial identities are

significant.

There has been a historical conceptualization of whiteness as simply invisible privilege; of

whiteness as the "neutral" category against which everybody else is measured; an assumed,

implicitly privileged status. Many researchers -Alba(1990), Frankenberg (2001), Roediger

(1999),Waters (1990), among others- "urge a shift in thinking about white racial identity as more

complex than [others] had previously considered...a focus on whiteness as a situated identity,

not as an identity of uniform privilege but as a complex social identity whose meaning is

imparted by the particular context in which white actors are located." (McDermott and Samson

2005:250). Jaret and Reitzes (1999) for example, undertook a large scale study to determine the

importance of racial identity, including whiteness, in different physical settings (the home, the

workplace, in public). They found variability in the salience of one's racial identity both among

races generally, and across different locations within and between races. Their findings speak to









the importance of recognizing the varied salience of racial identity in different physical and

social settings.



Immigration and Whiteness

Just as there is a focus on non-whites in the study of race and ethnicity, there exists a

similar focus on immigrants as minorities. This is especially so with the contentious discourse

over the U.S.-Mexico border and illegal immigration dominating public discourse (Santa Ana

2002), resulting in little attention paid to immigrants whose race is white. Rather, the discourse

seems to assume that white immigrants are not a problem and will assimilate more easily. This

can be paralleled to the ethnicity theory of race, where white ethnics were perceived to assimilate

easily into U.S. society (Omi and Winant 1997).

Ethnicity theory focuses on the experiences of immigrant groups at the turn of the century,

whose assimilation into the U.S. society was predicated on a model that did not account for racial

difference, and generalized their process of assimilation to all other ethnic groups in the U.S.,

including native born blacks. Ethnicity theory predicts that there are cultural reasons for why

U. S. blacks have not assimilated as immigrants at the turn of the century, perhaps best

exemplified in Gunnar Myrdal's (1944) report on "The Negro Problem." Myrdal holds that while

there are racist barriers in place preventing African Americans from integrating (segregationist

laws as the most obvious), when these barriers are removed, African Americans will face similar

conditions to immigrants at the turn of the century, and the choice to assimilate will be theirs.

This approach is problematic because is ignores the significance of race as a hierarchical

ordering in U. S. society (Omi and Winant 1997). While the problems with ethnicity theory have

been largely acknowledged and theorizing has moved on to different models (Portes and









Rumbaut 1996, Portes and Zhou 1993), the empirical studies of immigration and whiteness

largely have not addressed contemporary immigration.

Studies focusing on immigration and whites are largely analyzing race within the context

of turn of the century immigration to the U. S. and the "whitening" of various immigrant groups

of European extraction (Guglielmo 2003, Guglielmo and Salerno 2003, Ignatiev 1995, Roediger

2006). While many studies problematize the assumption that even immigrant groups of European

extraction assimilated "easily", adopting more critical approaches than ethnicity theory allows

for, there remains a lack of research on contemporary immigration and whiteness.

Whites and Racial Progressiveness

An important direction in the studies of whiteness and race is the mechanisms by which

whites begin to recognize their positions of privilege and begin to develop a racially progressive

consciousness.

There is no single definition of what makes a person racially progressive within the

discipline of sociology or within the larger field of race and ethnic studies. There are, however, a

number of texts that address both structural factors that predispose groups of people to be more

racially progressive, as well as various personal characteristics associated with people considered

to be racially progressive.

In addressing structural factors, group positions affect whether and how people experience

oppression and come to recognize it as an important factor shaping the lives of other groups.

Groups of people who experience discrimination have been thought to be better predisposed to

recognize their group's position of privilege along other dimensions. For example, white women

as a group have been cited as inhabiting a "singular position in the patterns of oppression, being

both racial oppressors and being oppressed by gender discrimination" (Feagin et al 2001:231). It

could be argued, then, that white women's experiences with gender discrimination would









translate into insights into racial discrimination experienced by people of color in the U.S..

However, Feagin found that experiencing gender discrimination alone is not necessarily enough

to influence understandings of racial discrimination (Feagin et al 2001:.231i). Experiencing one

dimension of oppression (gender, for white women) was not sufficient to translate to

understanding other dimensions of oppression. Rather, groups of people who "experience

multiple oppressions are more likely to share literally a 'social space' as well as a set of

experiences that tend to develop a sense of 'commonality"' (Bonilla Silva 2006: 145). Groups

that share experiences of the multiple oppressions are more likely to develop cross-racial

understandings. So white women who are stigmatized in other ways are the most likely to

experience solidarity and exhibit racial progressiveness (because of sexuality or class, for

example).

There have also been studies that measured racial progressiveness by looking at personal

characteristics that influence racial progressiveness (Berube 2001, Doane and Bonilla-Silva

2003, Rassmussen, Klineberg, Nexica and Wray 2001). Eduardo Bonilla Silva (2006) delineated

a number of ways in which he measured racial progressiveness. He measured racial

progressiveness by assessing his participants' support for interracial marriage and affirmative

action, having close relationships with people of color, and willingness to acknowledge

discrimination as a central factor affecting the lives of minorities today. Peggy McIntosh (1990)

encourages a critical analysis and awareness of one' s own white privilege as a stepping stone to

racial progressiveness. Feagin et. al. (2001) cite acknowledging one's own racism and

developing empathy with African Americans as crucial to developing an anti-racist, racially

progressive consciousness.









This Research's Contribution

In focusing on contemporary, white immigrants' understandings and experiences of

whiteness, I aim to expand the empirical literature on whiteness as a situated, relational, and

complex identity. I apply elements of symbolic interaction and intersectionality to analyze the

particular contributions of immigrants' experiences with race, in order to examine the particular

meanings people give to race as well as the ways in which their social location influences their

experiences. Further, I hope to complicate the conceptualization of white privilege as accessible

to anyone with white skin in the U.S., and explore that particular ways in which this access is

modified in immigrants' experiences.

According to the measures described above, I also posit that immigrants, in general, and

phenotypically white immigrants, specifically, have an increased potential for developing a

racially progressive consciousness. Personal experiences with discrimination as well as

structural dimensions of oppression combine to position the research participants at a nexus

where the development of a racially progressive consciousness is possible and likely.









CHAPTER 3
IVETHOD S

Research Design

I selected small, in-depth, semi-structured group interviews to explore the research

questions and as the most appropriate method to gather answers to my research questions.

Interview data were collected between May and June of 2006, in 4 group interviews, for a total

of ten participants. Qualitative research methods were selected because they better render in-

depth analyses of personal experiences and allow explorations of meanings.



The Group Interview

There are a number of distinctions that make a group interview setting the most desirable

method for my research aims. The first is that, unlike one-on-one interviews, group interviews

allow for multivocality, where participants build on each other's shared experiences and there is

a genuine give and take of experiences, as well as questioning of responses (Denzin and Lincoln

1998, Holstein and Gubrium 1995). Conversations can flow with minimal direction from the

researcher, who nonetheless prefaces the interview by explaining the topic of inquiry and guides

the conversation during the interview. By having participants interact with one another, the flow

of conversation and subj ects can become part of the data to analyze, and allows for the

participants to elicit new themes that the researcher may not have anticipated. Group interviews

transcend the individual knower and allow for a community of knowers to share experiences,

offering a more complex and varied analysis of the themes discussed (DeVault 1996).



The small number of participants per group ensured that potential negative effects of the

group interview setting (one participant dominating the group, interfering with individual










expression) was controlled for. Individuals were more likely to create a running dialogue within

the interview setting, fostering a back and forth between themselves and leaving me to listen. I

was also able to guide the conversations and to circle back to answers I felt needed more

explanations without upsetting the dynamics within the small group.

Practical considerations for adopting group interviews include the ability to reach more

people in less time than individual interviews would allow, as well as freeing the researcher to

observe unspoken reactions to topics of discussion (Denzin and Lincoln 1998). I was able to take

jotted notes of non-verbal interactions during the interviews, writing my observations out more

fully after the end of the interview. These non-vocal elements of the interview also become part

of the data to be analyzed, and give a more layered account of the way in which participants talk

about, give meaning to, and react to the topic of inquiry. Further, the non-vocal cues contribute

to the analytical context in which I strive to give meaning the participants' answers that is

faithful to their intended meaning as they spoke the answers.



Instrument

I modeled the semi-structured interviews after Holstein and Gubrium's The Active

interview (1995), which pushes the researcher into moving beyond regarding the interview as an

extension of a survey, reconceptualizing the interaction a researcher has with participants. This

influenced the way in which I designed the interview guide and the way in which I interacted

with the participants.

The interview guide was based on questions I anticipated to be important, but was also

geared to adapt from one interview to the next in order to incorporate developing issues. The

participants were conceptualized as active knowers capable of informing me about the issues I

deemed important, but also capable of building knowledge in conjunction with the other










participants and the researcher. The knowledge produced in an active interview is reflexive,

emergent, and situated knowledge that is built and given meaning within the particular context

of the interview rather than as a static, unchanging opinion or fact that a person holds for his or

her entire life. A flexible interview guide allows the interviews to have some internal consistency

as to topics covered, but also to value the particular issues a group of respondents deems

important to share. I was able to follow the interview guide I had developed, but I was also free

to follow the participants' conversations into areas that I had not asked about or envisioned as

important. Rather than discard this information as superfluous, within the active interview, all

information shared with the researcher is potentially important and can become a part of

subsequent interview guides.

Further, my conduct within the interview setting was also influenced by active interview

tenets. The researcher is viewed as always a part of the interview, and while she should be

careful not impose her meaning onto participants answers and avoid leading questions, her role

in the interview setting need not be minimal or sterile. Rather, in opposition to positivist research

which conceives of the interviewer as an absolute observer, I put forward that the researcher is

an always and already "biased" individual, holding opinions and knowledge about the subj ect

she is researching, bringing these opinions and knowledge into the interview setting. This stance

allowed me to disclose my personal history as an immigrant to the US when it was asked of me,

or when I deemed it important to the conversation. In all instances, participants asked why I was

interested in studying the subj ect of race, and my ability to answer truthfully helped build rapport

and establish trust between myself and the participants.










Sample

Determining eligibility

The first step in formulating a sample was determining eligibility to participate in the

research proj ect. This entailed a definition of the term "immigrant." While it may seem simple at

first, the definition of "immigrant" encompasses many dimensions; beyond moving from one

country to another, there are many other factors to consider. For instance: How long does one

have to live in a new country to be considered an immigrant, as opposed to a visitor? What role

does intent play in the definition? If one intends to return to their native country at the end of

their studies is s/he an immigrant, as opposed to one who intends to remain in the U.S.? If

someone immigrates as a young child, should he/she be considered an immigrant? These are

only some of the questions I encountered in determining whom I could recruit to participate in

my study.

In considering all of the above, I determined that two criteria should be fulfilled for

participation in the study. As my study aims to address first generation immigrants, the first

criterion is that the participants have been born abroad. Secondly, I sought participants who self-

identified as an immigrant. This is important because I seek to understand how immigrants

experience the racial dynamics in the U.S. Because being an immigrant is hardly a strictly

delineated status, I chose to allow as wide a definition as possible, in order to include as much

variability and to allow as many participants as possible.



Sample characteristics

The research was conducted in Collegeville, USA. The immigrant population in

Collegeville, USA is quite large, due both to the State University's ability to attract foreign

students and staff as well as the state's immigration history. I recruited the participants through










personal contacts, and asked that they bring any willing acquaintances who met the requirements

to the group interviews. This resulted in a convenience sample of ten participants, interviewed in

groups of between two and four participants per group interview.

The group interviews lasted from one to two hours, and were conducted on-campus. They

were organized according to the schedules of the participants, in order to accommodate their

availabilities and comfort. The group interviews were recorded and subsequently transcribed.

Participants were given pseudonyms during transcription in order to avoid identifying them in

subsequent reports.

The sample consisted of 10 people, 7 females and 3 males, their ages ranging from 29 to

39. Their countries of origin are: Bulgaria (1), India (1), Ireland (1), Nicaragua (1), Romania (1),

Slovakia (1), Uganda(1), and Ukraine (3). In response to the question "How do you identify your

race/ethnicity?" the participants listed white (5), Ukrainian-white (1), white-Romanian(1),

Hispanic (1),Asian (1), and African-Ugandan(1). All participants had attained the equivalent of a

Bachelor' s degree, and eight out of the ten were either pursuing or had attained graduate degrees.

Among the participants, some were work acquaintances or friends, and others had no previous

relationships to the other participants.

The resulting convenience sample, because of its geographical location and time

constraints, does not claim to be nationally representative of immigrants as a group. Instead, I

strived to include as much variation in immigrant history (i.e. time of migration to the US, reason

for migration, whether alone or with family, etc.), as well as nationality and ethnicity, so as to

engage as many perspectives and experiences as possible.









A note on participants of color

When I initially designed the research questions, I was also interested in looking at how

immigrants of color gave meaning to race. As the data analysis progressed and clearer analytic

themes emerged, I focused on the phenotypically white participants. However, I did not discard

the participants of color from the sample for two reasons. First, I had anticipated that discussions

of whiteness and white privilege might vary according to the racial makeup of the group to be

interviewed. Therefore, I held group interviews in which participants were white-only, white and

non-white, as well as non-white only. The conversations about whiteness generated in the race-

mixed group interview are, then, just as valid as those generated in white-only groups. Second,

although their responses figure less prominently in this research, the perspective of participants

of color on whiteness can be instructive, and their experiences can serve to contrast those of the

white participants.



Analysis

The analysis of the interviews was continuous throughout the data collection process.

Rather than separating the phases of data collection (the interviews) from analysis (poring over

the transcripts), I continually engaged in analysis throughout the proj ect. Practically speaking,

this meant that rather than abiding firmly by my interview guide, I was able to adapt topics and

questions from one interview to the next, enriching the data collected and allowing others to

respond to themes and issues that I had not included in my initial questions. This allowed me to

continually alter the study to best follow the leads in the data collection, resulting in increased

comparability between interviews and more complex data analysis in the end.

In coding the transcripts for emerging themes, I focused on the participants' experiences

regarding race. As themes emerged in one interview, I searched across the other interviews for










comparable or contrasting themes, attempting to construct a coherent narrative of the themes

found in the analysis (Denzin and Lincoln 1998).



Concerns

As with any research, there are areas of concern that need to be acknowledged and

examined. First, my position as a researcher was foremost in my mind (as with most researchers)

as a possible source of bias. In an effort to be reflexive, I outline some of the ways in which my

position as an immigrant has influenced the research. Further, there is also a concern regarding

the limitations of the sample itself.



My Immigrant Experience

Engaging Marj orie DeVault' s (1996) analysis of feminist methods, as well as Holstein and

Gubrium' s (1995) conceptualization of the active interview, I disclosed my personal immigrant

history, having come to the US as a child and remembering instances where I learned and

internalized racial norms. Being an immigrant fuels my interest in this topic of research, but it

can also be a source of bias. My experience guided assumptions about important themes and

questions to be asked as much as the literature concerning race did. I entered the interview

setting with expectations and hypotheses about what the answers to my questions might be. In

order to address this concern, I designed the interviews to be semi-structured so that while the

questions I asked guided the conversations, at least initially, the participants were encouraged to

share their own experiences. An active, semi-structured interview, then, encourages the

communal building of knowledge and transcends the limitations I may have unwittingly placed

through the interview guide.










My position as an immigrant can also become the basis for shared knowledge between the

participants and myself. For example, many times during the interviews, I could sympathize with

my participants' explanations of longing for home or disorienting racial experiences in this

country. Rather than ask for explanations of these feelings or further clarifications, I too often

assumed shared knowledge between us and instinctively agreed with their statements (Schwalbe

and Wolkomir 2002). In these situations, my position as an immigrant to the U.S. allowed me to

assume shared knowledge, when as a researcher I should have asked for clarification.

As always, there is a negotiation between the advantages and disadvantages of position.

While in one context it may hinder the researcher's instinct to ask for clarification, thus resulting

in loss of data (Schwalbe and Wolkomir 2002), in another it will create an atmosphere of shared

experiences, in which participants will be willing to communicate their opinions and meanings

more openly. As Manohar (2006) states, insider or shared knowledge with the participants can

be beneficial. Asking for too much clarification can negatively affect the dialogue taking place,

halting conversation and creating an atmosphere where respondents feel what they say may not

be correctly interpreted.

In all of the interviews, my position as an immigrant legitimate the questions I was asking

of the participants. All four groups asked about my motivation for the research, and responded

positively upon hearing that the questions were partly based on my experience as an immigrant.

For example, Ajit, a young Asian graduate student, was recruited through a friend and was

initially diffident about answering questions. Halfway into the interview, he insisted that I share

my motivations for researching race and immigration. After I did so, his demeanor became more

responsive and his answers more in depth.









This commonality with my participants cannot be judged as either entirely positive or

negative, but its effects should be noted. In some cases, then, the shared experiences may have

resulted in less clarification on my part and less elaborate answers drawn from the participants.

This can also be due to my limited experience as an interviewer. On the other hand, being an

immigrant was viewed positively by the participants and often legitimate my interest in racial

experiences, allowing them to be more expansive in their discussions.

Participants' Educational Level

Additionally, a concern regards the sample and the biases that are inherent within it. While

no sample is ever truly unbiased, there are characteristics that ensure a sample to be more or less

biased. Because this research was conducted in University Town, the sample is comprised of

individuals between 29 and 39, with a minimum of a Bachelors degree (or their national

equivalent) and eight out of ten were pursuing or had attained higher educational degrees. It is

clear that the sample represents highly educated students and professionals, and this must be

remembered as an important factor. The dialogue taking place is firmly situated within the

people's social location, and with regards to education and profession, there is little variation

within my sample.

These factors, then, cast my sample as representative of a homogeneity in education status,

and can be cast as a proxy for class. Although occupying differing levels of privilege in regards

to visa status (some have US citizenship, others have student or work visas, a much more

precarious situation) or occupations (regularly employed versus students), the participants

resemble each other in both educational levels and age, lending some internal consistency to the

sample and specifying the parameters of the social location of my sample. So, while my sample

may not be as varied along the lines of education and age, this helps to delineate the population

that I am researching and makes my results more tailored to a particular group.









Rather than frame this as a limitation of the sample, I have chosen to use the similarity in

educational and class backgrounds of my sample to further prove the importance of

intersectionality. The similarity in class background will serve to highlight the importance of

race, gender, and nation in both the analysis of the participants' experiences, but also in the

differential ways that they are treated in the US context. Because US rhetoric concerning

immigrant success stories relies heavily on Horatio Alger-like notions of self-sufficiency and

individual potential for class mobility (Steinberg 2001), an analysis of differential treatment

based on race and gender can highlight the dimensions of social location that might interfere

with integration.

This similarity in educational status will undoubtedly affect the kind of experiences and

knowledge shared by the participants, but needs not be a hindrance to this research. While many

works highlight the experiences of immigrants in more precarious positions with regards to

documented vs. undocumented legal status, class, social capital and more (Hondagneu-Sotelo

1992, 1994, Kosic and Triandafyllidou 2004, Menjivar and Salcido 2002, Woldemikael 1989),

this work will explore the contributions of immigrants who are in a position of privilege with

regard to these dimensions.



Pilot Studies

This research was undertaken as a pilot or exploratory study. Much of the literature

concerning white immigrants focuses on the early 20th century, and this research instead targets

contemporary white immigrants. While there will likely be overlap in themes and analyses, I

wanted to approach this research without making assumptions of commonalities between white

immigrants now and those immigrating at the tumn of the century. I intended to approach

contemporary white immigration as a "new" field, because of the relative dearth in research










addressing the research questions put forth in this research. In this sense, a pilot study's 'loose',

inductively oriented design ...works well when the terrain is unfamiliar ... and the intent is

exploratory"(Huberman and Miles 1998:185).

Exploratory studies, then, seek not only to draw informed analyses from the interviews, but

also to explore themes and inform future research. By designing the study to include fewer but

more in-depth interviews, I hoped to generate unique themes and analyses pertinent to the

researching of contemporary white immigrants.









CHAPTER 4
FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU ARE DIFFERENT: NEGOTIATING WHITENESS

Immigrants and Whiteness

How do participants give meaning to a white racial identity derived from their skin color

and ethnicity? This chapter focuses on the meanings imparted to race by phenotypically white

participants. How do the participants give meaning to race once they have reached the U.S.?

How do they talk about and make sense of entering and living in a racially hierarchical society in

which they have not presumably been socialized? This chapter seeks to understand how the

participants negotiate a racial, and specifically, a white identity in the U.S. racial system. To that

end, I will focus on the participants who are phenotypically white (five females and two males)

and who self-identified as white during the group interviews.

As has been previously stated, the literature calls for a "focus on whiteness as a situated

identity, not as an identity of uniform privilege but as a complex social identity whose meaning

is imparted by the particular context in which white actors are located." (McDermott and Samson

2005:250). Some studies have problematized whiteness as privilege by examining whiteness and

poverty (Buck 2001), sexuality (Berube 2001), class and urban-rural location (Hartigan 1999). I

aim to focus on the interaction of whiteness and immigration to examine whiteness as a situated,

relational identity, where access to white privilege is modified by factors such as accent, dress,

and class.



Race and the U.S. South: Situated Whiteness

Much recent research has emphasized the importance of space and place in many areas,

such as doing gender (Marsiglio, Roy, and Litton Fox 2005, Connell 2000), feminism (Guerrero

1996, Heng 1996), and a few have addressed the importance of place and ethinicity/race (Nagel










1994, Jaret and Reitzes 1999). Looking at place, or grounding an analysis of race within a

situated context, can offer important insights into how a white racial identity can be influenced

by outside factors.

To cast whiteness as a situated identity is to recognize that whiteness becomes salient in

certain contexts, and takes on different meanings in different contexts. For example, whiteness

may have a different salience and meaning in a mathematics classroom versus a class on

minorities in U. S. society. Jaret and Reitzes (1999) explored the differences in salience of race in

settings such as the home, at work, and in public. From the coded interview data, there are two

main themes that emerged in which whiteness as an identity was importantly situated within

nested contexts: the U.S. South and rural towns in the South,



The U.S. South as racist

When discussing race and racial identity, the maj ority of the participants took pains to

preface their remarks as originating from their experience living in the rural U.S. South. For the

majority of the sample, the U.S. South (particularly the states of Florida, South Carolina, and

Mississippi), is the only place in which they have lived within the United States. Almost all

participants mentioned that they drew on their experiences as immigrants in the U.S. South, and

that perhaps their experiences would be different had they resided in other locations. As Milan

explains, "living in the deep South, doesn't give you the lesson [about race] that you probably

would get if you lived in up north..." (Milan professional).

Within the context of the South, the participants also qualified the spaces in which they

lived and experienced race as rural spaces, often in rural college towns. Interview data convey

that participants thought whites in small, rural towns to be more racist:










You see it in the grocery store...My husband, you know, he'll open the door for whoever
and ... I've witnessed people sort of looking at him, other white people looking at him
because he's opened the door for a black lady. You know, out in the country. (Eileen,
professional)

Interviewer- Do you feel that ... racism is still prevalent?

Milan- Oh very much so, in the deep south, yes. And in South Carolina. I just came back
from there 2 weeks ago, and I feel like people still, and for a long time they will, continue
to look down on the blacks and see themselves as superior. (Milan, professional)

Jenica- There were slaves 40 years ago, probably they expect them to be slaves in their
minds.

Interviewer- In whose minds?

Jenica- In the Americans mind, especially all the whites. (Jenica, graduate student)

There is a parallel construction of race as particularly significant in the rural U. S. South and of

whites in the South as racist. Participants perceived the South as a place steeped in racism,

where slavery (as mentioned by Jenica) was only recently dismantled. Further, they perceived

that the legacy of slavery still influences people in the South, and specifically whites. This

perception of the South has been paralleled in other studies (McKinney 2005).

It is within the perception of a racist U.S. South that the participants base their racial

identities and experiences. Milan, again, highlights this fact as he recounts his first experiences

in the U.S..

... when I came to South Carolina, and that town was totally you know, small and rural and
full of .. uhh.... people who are not very welcoming to immigrants. But I was from Europe.
And I think I had a completely different experience than other people. And it definitely
helped that I took my studies seriously, and I was the best student, and blah blah, all that
jazz. But I think just because I was white people could, you know, look at me different.
Because I attended some international students panels and I could immediately tell by the
questions that were asked of me and of students who were black or Hispanic that they had
a different feeling towards where I came from (Milan, professional)

Here, as in many interviews, the physical setting (rural South) was an important dimension

to the participants' experience of race in general, and of their understanding of how race affected










them personally. In Milan' s quote, we can draw a connection between his perception of the

setting and the people who populate it, as he associates small, rural towns with people who do

not welcome immigrants.

He then goes on to detail how his racial status qualified his experience, because, as he

states, being from Europe and white gave him some advantages. He perceived that his experience

was "different" from other people' s, and not as discriminatory, because of his privileged white

racial status in this rural, small college town. Whiteness in and of itself is a privilege, in this case,

accessed whether it is linked to an American identity or not. As we shall see later in the chapter,

this is not always the case.

The U.S. South as multicultural

Thus, place can influence how a white racial identity can provide privileges within a

certain context. Above, Milan discussed the privileges he benefited from as a white student in the

South, referencing a southern town populated by intolerant people, where his whiteness afforded

him advantages over other international students of color.

On the other hand, articulating a different perception of a physical setting can complicate

how racial privilege is accessed. While previous participants perceived the rural U.S. South as

particularly racist, Sofia articulates the South as a multicultural setting in which her whiteness

can be problematic. Sofia talks about the difficulties she faces as a white professional in a

southern, multicultural setting. Below, in response to Angela's concerns, Sofia confirms the

particular salience of race in the U.S. South for her experience, and in this case in a state that is

heavily influenced by a significant Latino presence:

Angela- I've never felt discriminated against. I've gotta tell you that I'm afraid of moving
to a different city, I think that I was sheltered as a Hispanic in Miami, in terms of the racial
issues going on. ...You become a little self conscious when everything starts becoming
whiter and less multicultural, then you start sticking out...










Sofia- You see, for me its different because I don't speak Spanish, and I'm not part of
Hispanic population in Florida, when I go in a state that doesn't have such high Hispanic
population... um,.. I don't feel as foreign, to an extent, I feel more... because I guess more
among whites, I feel more, um,... more assimilated than other parts of the U. S.. Maybe it' s
because it's the South, maybe it doesn't have anything to do with Hispanic population.
(Angela and Sofia, professionals)

Angela, a young Hispanic professional who works at the university and contemporaneously goes

to school, relates her reluctance to travel to places which she considers less diverse and more

"white" than Florida. Sofia, on the other hand, a young Eastern European professional at the

university, initially articulates the difficulties she faces in a multiracial South. She attributes

some of the troubles she faces as due to her phenotypical attributes, "because I have darker hair,

and I don't have very white skin..." (Sofia, professional ) In a setting such as Miami, where

physical attributes such as darker hair and skin tone can easily be associated with a race other

than white, Sofia expresses discomfort and highlights that her whiteness is called into question.

Later in the quote she revises her response, locating her difficulties with asserting her white

identity as perhaps not only related to the Hispanic influence in Florida, rather as a particular

aspect of race in the U.S. South more generally.

"You Are White But Not American": Whiteness as Relational and Conditional

As we can see above, physical settings can influence how race is experienced and given

meaning to. Interview data also suggests that whiteness is conditional; there are a number of

situations in which their racial identity is cast into question, and their access to privileges

afforded by skin tone modified. A racial identity, then, can be simultaneously relational (because

it has significance in interactions with others) and conditional (because through this interaction,

their access to privileges afforded by whiteness is denied).










Accent

Below, Jenica and Olivia, two young Eastern European graduate students, discuss their

identification as white in relation to social interactions in everyday life. Jenica describes an

interaction where her racial identity was highlighted through social interaction, and how her

accent affected the exchange:

Jenica- The black population definitely consider me white. When I go to buy something I
can see that, it happen to me if there is a black person at the counter, and if there is some
other blacks after me, it happens to ask them if you are in a hurry just because we buy a lot,
and then asking the person after me to go before me, ... because I am white and they are
black........First you are white, then you are different.

Olivia- ...after you start talking...

Jenica- After, they realize you are not American.

Andriy- You are white, but not American. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students and
Andriy, professional)

There are a number of important themes in this exchange, the first of which is Jenica' s

qualification that the "black population definitely" considers her white. Jenica posits her white

racial status as relational she recognizes that her it is dependent upon others recognizing her as

such.

Jenica then goes on to describe how whiteness can be perceived as linked to discrimination

rather than privilege. As she perceives it in the exchange she described, Jenica' s white racial

status did not afford her any privilege or protection from discrimination. In fact, she interprets

race as a divisive force ("because I am white and they are black") that justified the supposedly

discriminatory acts by the store cashiers (letting others jump in front of Jenica at check out).

Further, her white racial status is conditional on how she speaks English.. As Olivia

concurs, once you interact with others by speaking English with an accent your status as white is

modified, and you suddenly become "different." Speaking obviously accented English instantly










marks one as different, and therefore relinquishes some of the privileges that whiteness would

have bestowed. The perception of the speaker changes to from white as the main identifier to

"foreigner," and additional controls are placed on people. The exchange below exemplifies the

process:

Jenica- .....I don't like talking because they realize all of a sudden that I'm foreigner, and
what I've noticed, when my husband goes to buy something they are always asking about
his ID when he' s using his credit card; but it' s not happening to Americans. Now I'm
beginning to pay attention, why are you asking if the credit card is signed, I don't know if
you have to, but it happens..

Olivia-... Yeah it happens.

Jenica- It happens ....and then in the hospital when I deliver, when my baby was born, they
were always asking 'do you speak English' even before speaking to me. You could try first
[to see] if I speak .....I wish my English were better and not to see the difference

Interviewer- You mean, no accent?

Jenica- I would like to get rid of my accent. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students)

Jenica again articulates the perceived discrimination she faces because of her accented English,

the erasing of privilege through accented language. Still unsure of whether she' s facing excessive

control in stores, Jenica questions whether the practice of checking identification when using a

credit card is mandatory for everyone or a specific incident of controlling suspicious people, in

this case herself and her husband. Even as she notices that "it' s not happening to Americans,"

Jenica seems tentative in locating discrimination in this experience. In this instance, Jenica

experiences no privilege due to her racial status as white, rather the more important factor is her

accented English giving away her "foreigner" status.

These quotes highlight an important assumption made by the participants: that whiteness in

the U.S. is linked to an American identity. The participants social location of racially white but

culturally and legally foreign complicates the homogeneity of a white racial identity. The










participants negotiate being "white, but not American" as a liminal space, where their skin tone

affords them a white identity until it is modified by speech.

Dress

While accented speech is one way in which white racial status is conditional, clothing is

yet another. Many participants related that one's style of dress, which is perhaps still inspired by

a "foreign" sense of style, can single them out..

So, as a foreigner, especially from Europe, we felt welcome. Now when, like I said, when I
don't wear the clothes that I do for everyday work, when I'm just in shorts or .., you know,
its funny- but clothes are very significant for everyday encounters. And if you're in just
working clothes or jogging clothes and you're talking to someone, they cannot
judge...whether you are educated; then you see that feeling that 'You don't belong. You're
immigrant.'(Milan, professional)

I'm very fortunate because, like Milan, I'm white, I'm blonde... I pretty much look like I
fit, I think, most of the time; in terms of my facial structure and my...physical appearance.
My clothes, on the other hand, people say make me sometimes stand out... my accent
sometimes... particularly in the local grocery store in [a local small town], I'm definitely
exotic in [small town]. (Eileen, professional)

Both participants draw on their physical characteristics- white skin, light hair, European

extraction, to denote privilege: they "felt welcome" and "fortunate" and "fit in" within white

America based on their "white" look. However, both Eileen and Milan noted that dress was

important in constructing an identity which allowed them to access the privilege of fitting in.

Eileen notes that her style of dress can make her "exotic" and stand out. Milan notes that when

he does not wear professional clothing, his ability to access white privilege is diminished.

The importance of the intersection of race and class is exemplified by Milan' s passage:

while he may benefit from white privilege in some encounters, the clothes as physical markers of

class play a role in how this privilege is accessed. When not wearing clothes that identify him as

educated (Milan usually wears button-down shirts and slacks to work), he senses a difference in

the way people interact with him that denotes a discriminatory attitude. Without his markers of









class, the benefits of white privilege are further mitigated by language as a marker of difference,

and Milan is subj ect to discrimination as a foreigner.

Skin tone

Further still, constructing and maintaining a white racial identity can be conditional upon

one's skin tone. Sofia relates an event in which the particular situational context conditioned her

white racial status.

Sofia- The few times I felt I had been discriminated was at [the] Miami airport. Because I
don't speak Spanish, and because I have a darker hair, and I don't have very white skin, ..
people would talk to me in Spanish, approach me in Spanish, and I would say 'I don't
speak Spanish', and they would continue to speak Spanish, and make jokes. And I don't
understand, and it' s not like I'm making it up!i I really don't [speak Spanish]...

Interviewer- Was there an assumption that you could but you wouldn't?

Sofia- Yeah. I felt really bad, really, because I have darker skin, and because I'm not
blonde and blue eyed doesn't mean I speak Spanish! (Sofia, professional)

This quote exemplifies the importance of racial identity as situated and relational, which

determines the conditional nature of access to whiteness. The situational context, a multicultural

and multilingual Miami airport, defined the parameters of race. Sofia's skin tone, which she

describes as "not very white" places her identification by others as white at risk, given the

situational context where she may also be classified as Hispanic. The relational dimension of

race is highlighted when people ascribe a Hispanic rather than white identity to Sofia, and

address her in Spanish. This runs contrary to the racial identity she holds for herself, constructed

in a different setting.

Summary

This chapter has explored the ways in which participants talked about the contexts in

which they gave meaning to a racial identity. The maj or themes emerging from the interviews

highlighted that racial identities are situated and relational. One's white racial identity was also









conditional, often mediated by factors such as accent and dress. This conditionality is a

distinguishing factor of white racial identity for phenotypically white immigrants, which will be

discussed further in the concluding chapter.









CHAPTER 5
THE POTENTIAL FOR RACIALLY PROGRESS SIVE WHITES

White Immigrants and the Potential for Racially Progressive Consciousness

I lived in a house with a lady who was very ... Southern, to say the least, very mildly. And
she remarked that every time she saw an interracial couple, "Oh I don't understand how
they could be together," and that to me was striking... This country is what helped me a lot
.. to become more respectful of different color and different race, because back home we
have a huge racist problem with the Gypsies, and coming here taught me a lot about that.
People are not different, even though they are physically different, but they are still human
beings.

That' s actually the main point of contention when I [go back to my home country] and I
tell people to their face that they are racist and the way they behave towards Gypsies is like
the way Americans behaved towards blacks before, during, and after the civil war. And I
.. I'm proponent of maybe positive discrimination [at home] and people look at me like
I'm crazy... but I say all those arguments that you're using against the Gypsies are similar
arguments that were used here against the blacks....I feel like the problem is not just the
Gypsies, it' s a structural problem, and that the maj ority population of [my home country]
has to look critically on themselves as well. I mean if you have a Gypsy and a white
person asking for a job, 99% the white person will get it, even if they're equally qualified.
So I think [people] have a lot to learn.

One of the best things that happened to me was to come here and learn that. ... [My wife
and I] resent people who judge blacks and don't like blacks and don't like black culture
and uh just.. are negative towards them, so what we do now is to go out of our way to show
that were different, even on the bus you would let a black person to sit next to you, or you
sit next to a black person just to show everybody else that I don't agree with your racial
politics. (Milan, professional)

Milan' s quote is exemplary of what I term a racially progressive consciousness. He relates

how his experiences with race in the US have shaped his understanding of discrimination and of

privilege, both in the US context and as it applies to his home country. This consciousness has

translated to his daily behavior, where he attempts to challenge "racial politics" which support

inequality.

This chapter will explore the prevalence of a racially progressive consciousness among the

study participants. I will examine instances in which the participants claimed that their

experiences with race and discrimination in the US led them to form anti-racist beliefs and, in a









few cases, led to their taking anti-racist action. I will first attempt to define a racially progressive

consciousness, and then examine whether and how the participants in the sample have developed

one due to their experiences as immigrants in the US.

Parameters for Racial Progressiveness

As elaborated in the second chapter, there can be many dimensions to defining a racially

progressive consciousness. For the purposes of this research, I define it as an awareness of

privilege experienced due to one's white racial status, having personal relationships with people

of color, a recognition of daily racial discrimination faced largely by people of color, and a

translation of these recognition into anti-racist action. I posit that the development of this

consciousness is intimately tied to the experiences of discrimination faced by my participants, as

well as the recognition that their ability to access a white racial identity (if not an American one),

affords them certain privileges over other immigrants of color.

The previous chapter examined the ways in which participants came to understand and

give meaning to a white racial identity. Below, I will examine the ways in which participants

came to understand discrimination and react against it.

Recognizing racism

The first aspect of developing a racially progressive consciousness is the ability to

recognize that racism and discrimination exist as an important factor in everyday life. Most

participants recognized that racism is a problem, and that it plays a large role in American life.

Interviewer- Do you feel that racism is still prevalent [in the US]?

Milan- Oh very much so." (Milan, professional)

"I didn't know there is so much debate here about black and white, for me [in my home
country] there were just people. I couldn't see the difference between black and white. But
once I arrived here, it was a completely different story. There are blacks, they are left
outside, they don't mix so much with white people, and you hear all the time talking about










them, "they are not so educated, they don't have good j obs." And so yeah there is a huge
difference. (Jenica, graduate student)

Andriy- Only here in the US...I got this idea [that there was a] problem between...

Olena- ...white[s] and blackss.

Andriy Before that [coming to the US], I didn't know.

Olivia- That is true...

Andriy ....HERE is the problem! (Andriy, Olena, professionals and Olivia, Jenica
graduate students).

The participants all recognized that race is a salient issue in everyday life, with many citing

their entry into the US as the beginning of their awareness of racial tensions. Many also

identified the Civil Rights period as a legal turning point in race relations, but that social tensions

were slow to retreat. Some perceived the racial history of the United States to have been

extremely discriminatory. In this quote, partially repeated from page 39, we see the degree to

which some participants understood racial history to influence the present day:

Jenica- There were slaves 40 years ago, probably they expect them to be slaves in their
mind...

Interviewer- In whose minds?

Jenica- In the Americans' mind, especially all the whites. (Jenica, graduate student).

While segregationist laws had extensive and far-reaching negative consequences for people

of color, to equate that time period with slavery would be inaccurate. However, the fact that

Jenica believes that conditions 40 years ago equate to slavery for people of color speaks to the

importance she gives to racism today.

Marginalization, privilege, and racial progressiveness

The literature refers to groups of people who share experiences of discrimination and who

are marginalized as being more likely to recognize cross-racial discrimination and become more

racially progressive (Bonilla-Silva 2006, Feagin Vera and Batur 2001, Stoddart 2002).










Throughout the interviews, participants recounted instances in which they perceive themselves to

be discriminated against and marginalized, both by individuals and by institutions. The previous

chapter also showed that the participants felt they had been discriminated against by various

people in different settings. Jenica recounted how she felt discriminated in stores when asked for

additional identification when other customers were not, Milan felt the effects of discrimination

in his first college town Sofia, below, shares that her status as female and immigrant has made

her more susceptible to being harassed by the government in regards to her marriage to her

American husband.

Certainly the government thinks I married [an American] for reasons other than love, and
that has been implied very strongly in letters I've received from the government. That's
why we had to hire lawyers, because I didn't change my name and I didn't have children.
(Sofia, professional)

Other participants also felt they occupied precarious positions due to arbitrary rules

regarding other social institutions. For example, two graduate students who are also mothers

explain the fear they face vis-a-vis social welfare institutions:

Jenica- ... I don't know the laws, I don't know my rights... And the fact that we have a
baby, and I've seen too many movies where social agents come and they don't like..
[General laughter] Because my husband, just the other day, he fall asleep and my baby ate
some ointment. And we had to call, they took my name and address. What if they file
complaint and come here and take the baby.... they can do that!

Olivia- They can?

M- Yes. At least in the movies.

Olivia- People can steal in hospital. I had problem with mine, she have bum. And people
come first to you, and ask question, and ...My god it was accident, I didn't do anything!
Scary. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students)

These two mothers clearly stated a marginalized and precarious position with respect to

government institutions. This precarious position is also articulated among other participants in










the group interview in regards to visas and the seemingly arbitrary nature by which they can be

renewed or revoked.

With the student visa I don't even feel immigrant here. You're nobody, student, temporary;
as soon as you finish your study, its not even immigrant status for me. I don't consider
myself immigrant because I don't have right to anything here. I don't feel like I have rights
here..... I mean, if my education is not so good, they cannot keep me in the program; I am
out of here in [so] many hours, I cannot stay unless I stay illegal[1y]... (Olivia, graduate
student)

From the above quotations, we can gather than most participants feel that by virtue of their status

as immigrants, they feel a part of a marginalized group as opposed to the dominant part of

American society.

However, woven along with conversations about marginalization is a recognition that their

white skin tone and racial status privileged them in certain situations, especially vis-a-vis

immigrants of color. Milan gives an example of how he feels he can respond to instances of

personal discrimination based on his immigrant status.

It really doesn't bother me, because I know even [a friend] says "Oh, you have typical
Eastern European face, ... if you even wanted to say that you are American I wouldn't
believe it" ... I don't have problem with that, I feel like I can handle any remarks on my
background. Maybe it' s easier because [I'm] white. I think ... if I were Latino or if I were
a person from Africa I would have a different perspective on how this country treats
immigrants and foreigners. (Milan professional)

It is interesting to note that in his last phrase "how this country treats immigrants and

foreigners", Milan's comment is not only referencing his personal ease with dealing with

discriminatory remarks, but also a recognition that as a white man, he is experiencing less

discriminatory treatment than if he were "Latino or a person from Africa." Milan makes an

important link between his skin color and the discriminatory experiences he has had, recognizing

that were he an immigrant of color, his experiences would be different.









Taking action

In the opening quote, we learn that Milan has translated his experiences with

discrimination and his recognition of racism in the US into anti-racist action, both locally and in

his home country. Milan's experiences with racism in the US allowed him to recognize racism

towards a minority group in his own country, and led him to challenge racist talk amongst his

peers at home. He also translated his experiences into anti-racist actions in his everyday life.

There are other examples in which racist behavior was recognized as unacceptable, and the

participants took actions to mitigate that behavior. Jenica relates an instance taking place in a

freely provided English class.

Jenica- I made a mistake when I came here. I went to an English class with an old lady,
conservative lady, white. And she started talking very badly about black people. Although
I don't think it' s legal. You are not allowed to do that. They might put you in prison if you
are talking bad about other people. .... And I didn't understand why is she doing that in
English class, because in the class there were yellow people, me, there were also Latino -
so why are you doing this class for free if you are talking so bad about black people, who
are different from you, but we are also different from you...

...Interviewer- Do you think she saw you as [white]?

Jenica- In a way yeah, because then she started talking about Latinos who come to the
country pregnant and give birth to American babies...

Olivia- Oh my gosh!

Jenica- ...and I was pregnant at that time!i [General laughter] So I left that class, and
everywhere I go, I talked about that teacher and "look at what she is doing! Why is she
doing that?"

Interviewer- So, did you talk to the administrator?

Jenica- No, because the English class was for free, although it was organized somehow;
but it was on campus, for free. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students)

Jenica describes an English language teacher, likely a volunteer, infusing her English lessons

with racist talk demeaning people of color. At first Jenica expresses surprise that the teacher

would engage in such racist behavior to an audience of immigrants, and holds the belief that such










speech is actually legally prohibited. While this may not be the case, Jenica recognized that the

behavior was wrong and left the class. In addition, she shared her experiences "everywhere" she

went, questioning the legitimacy of such talk in a classroom and warning acquaintances to avoid

that teacher.

While these actions can be seen as minor, they are nonetheless significant for Jenica. As a

new immigrant to the US she spoke little English, and thus leaving the free English class

represented a loss of potential language skills. While she did not report the teacher to an

administrator, she did engage her personal network of friends and acquaintances to warn people

about the teacher and lessen the impact she may have had by lessening class attendance. Thus,

although there are more sweeping actions she could have taken (confronting the teacher,

reporting her to the administrators of the English classes), leaving the class and encouraging

people to avoid attending it are still anti-racist in their nature.

Cautions

In analyzing the ways in which the participants have developed some aspects of a racially

progressive consciousness, their construction of African Americans as the racial other must be

addressed. Although this will be discussed more fully in the concluding chapter, participants did

not address personal relationships with people of color, and often essentialized African

Americans in their discussions of racism. This is a cause for concern, then, in developing a

racially progressive consciousness.

Summary

In this chapter, I attempted to define the parameters of a racially progressive

consciousness, proposing that phenotypically white immigrants are uniquely poised to recognize

the privileges associated with being white in the US.









I defined the parameters for a racially progressive consciousness, drawing from sources

(Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Bonilla-Silva 2006, Feagin et al 2001, O'Brien 2003,

Rassmussen 2001, Stoddart 2002) to determine important measures. These are: an awareness of

privilege experienced due to one's white racial status, developing personal relationships with

people of color, a recognition of daily racial discrimination faced largely by people of color, and

a translation of these recognition into anti-racist action.

In analyzing the participants' responses, many clearly recognized that racism was an

important factor in everyday life in the US. Many also recognized that their skin color afforded

them differential treatment, reducing their exposure to discriminatory or racist experiences.

Although the participants were quick to recognize the impact of racial discrimination in the lives

of people of color in the US, they were also not likely to have close personal relationships with

people of color, complicating their articulations racism and discrimination. And finally, some of

the respondents took anti-racist action, whether in the local context or in challenging racism in

one's home country. While not all participants exhibited a racially progressive consciousness, the

fact that some did lends importance to studying this phenomenon.









CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION AND FUTURE WORK

Summary and Discussion of the Findings

This study looked at the experiences with race of phenotypically white, first-generation

immigrants. Through semi-structured group interviews, I examined the meanings participants

gave to a white racial identity, and whether and how the privilege that is associated with

whiteness is accessible to the participants.



Summary of Findings

Giving meaning to race as situated, relational, and conditional

There are three ways is which participants gave meaning to a white racial identity: as a

situated, relational and conditional racial identity. In giving meaning to race as a situated

identity, physical places affected how the participants experienced a racial identity. The

participants never talked about their understanding of a racial identity abstractly; rather, they

consistently contextualized their experiences within a specific geographic place.

More importantly, the participants emphasized the regional dimension of their experiences

with race in the U.S. South. They ascribed particular meaning to the South as a place with

historical significance with regards to race, hinting at the salience of the South as a relatively

recently desegregated place, one where racial tensions still linger. Milan's hesitation in

describing the residents of his South Carolina university town as unwelcoming of foreigners has

a subtext which hints at racism among the townspeople. This was confirmed in his description of

receiving preferential treatment due to white skin, linking his racial privilege to the larger

perceived context of black-white inequality and racism in many southern towns. It is important

to note that scholars have criticized the notion of the South as more racist a place than the U. S.









North (Breines 2006; McKinney 2005). However, within the theoretical orientation of symbolic

interactionism, it is also important to consider that the participants assigned a specific meaning to

the South as a place where racism, and thus racial identity, is more visible and salient.

Racial identity was also simultaneously relational and conditional: participants found racial

identity to carry importance in social interactions with other people, mostly Americans, and

related that their status as "white" is often mediated by factors such as language and dress. For

example, participants may appear white and may engage a white racial identity walking down

the aisles of a store, but their ability to access this racial identity is modified once they speak to a

cashier in accented English. As Jenica states, "First you are white, then you are different." A

white racial identity is simultaneously constructed in relation to other people, and is conditional

upon factors that may mark one as foreign.



Racial progressiveness

This study also attempted to determine whether the participants' experiences of

discrimination as immigrants and their conditional access to the white privilege translated into

racial progressiveness. I defined a racially progressive consciousness as an awareness of

privilege experienced due to one's white racial status, a recognition of daily racial discrimination

faced largely by people of color, and a translation of these recognition into anti-racist action. I

aimed to explore whether the participants were uniquely positioned to develop such a

consciousness, and found that most participants fulfilled the first two parameters.

While not all participants translated their heightened awareness of racial injustice into anti-

racist action, a number exhibited solidarity with people of color. Two participants specifically

took anti-racist actions as well. In a society that downplays the importance of racism both at the

institutional and personal level (Bonilla-Silva 2006), developing and maintaining a racially










progressive consciousness is an ongoing process that must continue to guard against the

dominant frames surrounding race.



Discussion of Findings

White racial identity: whiteness and nationality

Throughout the conversations in the interviews and the analysis of the interview data,

participants constructed a personal white racial identity distinct from an American identity. They

talked both of their own sense of self as white, and recognized that whiteness in America is

conceptually tied to American citizenship. The participants negotiate being "white, but not

American" as a marginal identity, where their phenotypical attributes afford them a white racial

identity, from which they can benefit (see Milan's analyses of how his skin tone protected him

from discrimination) but that can also be limited. Accented speech, clothes, facial features that

may mark the participants as not American can influence the way in which they access white

privilege, and subj ect them to scrutiny as foreigners.

Old World regionalism and racial beliefs

The participants' categorization of the U. S. South as a particularly racist place weighed

heavily on their perceptions of race. All participants, either explicitly or implicitly, referenced

the South's racial history as heavily influencing interpersonal dynamics.

There must, however, be a recognition that people bring their beliefs with them as they

migrate, and that the participants may be transferring European notions of regionalism to the

U. S. context. The southern regions of most European countries are generally constructed as

inferior, and on a national level, Southern European countries are often viewed as less civilized,

more chaotic, and generally inferior (see Franco Brusati's 1973 film Bread and Chocolate as an

example). These regional beliefs, while not explicitly racialized, carry overtones of group










positions and perceptions. Accounting for the influence of regionalism in the participants'

socialization in their home countries can partly explain the heavy emphasis they give to the U.S.

South in their experiences with race.

Racial progressiveness and constructing the other

In researching race, and especially whiteness, research must also consider the ways in

which even anti-racist action that can have racist undertones (McKinney 2005, O'Brien 2003).

For instance, the well-meaning reactions of those who can access privileged positions could be

regarded as further essentializing marginalized groups, or encouraging a compassion that may be

paternalistic in nature (Essed 1996). Comments such as Milan' s, repeated from the initial quote

in chapter 5, must be analyzed both as well meaning and potentially exploitative.

We [my wife and I] resent people who judge blacks and don't like blacks and don't like
black culture and uh just.. are negative towards them. So what we do now is to go out of
our way to show that we're different; even on the bus you would let a black person to sit
next to you, or you sit next to a black person just to show everybody else that 'I don't
agree with your racial politics.' (Milan, professional)

As O'Brien (2003) documented, whites involved in anti-racist action fall subj ect to the

pervasiveness of white supremacy in everyday interactions, leading even those who recognize

racism on a grand scale to reproduce it in everyday interactions. This research confirms some of

the same findings, in that participants who articulated anti-racist stances were also likely to

obj ectify and essentialize blacks. Milan's comment shows the recognition of his white privilege

of not being at the receiving end of discrimination against African Americans, as well as his

efforts to disassociate from racist behavior by showing a lack of prejudice in choosing who to sit

next to on the bus. However, this particular enactment of anti-racist politics requires African

Americans as obj ects people to sit next to, but not necessarily as people to engage in

conversation with or develop personal relationships with. While it is important that he directs his

anti-racist politics to those whose "racial politics" he does not agree with, he did not discuss










active and purposeful interaction with communities of color as another avenue in which to

combat racism.

Placing this comment within the larger context of the group interviews, Milan is clearly

among the participants with the clearest sense of his white privilege and who is most critical of

racist practices. That one can take such a clear stand against racism and yet still engage in anti-

racist behavior that can be problematic speaks to the complexity of racism in the U.S..

Additionally, participants also articulated opinions consistent with Bonilla-Silva' s (2006)

conceptualization of colorblind racism. During the interviews, participants highlighted the

dualisms that can be engaged in talking about racism and people of color. For example, Jenica

talks about how black people "don't mix so much with white people," but does not address the

fact that whites also self-segregate; she focuses her attention on the presumed self-segregation of

people of color.

Yeah I got the same impression. Here it's a huge problem, they even live in a different part
of city, they have different stores... (Jenica, graduate student)

While Jenica has previously acknowledged that racism plays a large role in everyday life, she

also ignores the structural dimensions of racism that may have led to residential segregation.

This speaks to the power of dominant frames of racial discourse today (Bonilla-Silva 2006),

where the emphasis is on people of color' s responsibility for not assimilating rather than

structural racism.

Many studies addressing whites' development of racially progressive identities stress the

importance of close, personal relationships with people of color as a crucial element (Doane and

Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin, Vera and Batur 2001, McKinney 2005). The participants in this

study did not mention any such relationships, and this can be considered an important factor










limiting their development of a racially progressive consciousness. However, this may also be

due to the small sample, and should be researched with larger numbers of participants.

Finally, the participants' discussions of race and racial identity were largely centered on

their experiences in relation to black Americans. Other communities of color, such as

Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans were rarely mentioned and only in passing

references. The one exception to this was the mixed-race group interview, where the presence of

a Hispanic participant led to a more prominent discussion of Hispanics and race. The focus on

black-white relations, then, speaks to the dominating influence of the black-white paradigm in

U. S. race relations (Omi and Winant 1994, Perea 1997). That is to say, the focus of much

discussion on race both in the academic field and within these interviews- centered on black

and white Americans, omitting non-black people of color from the discourse.

The language of solidarity

Studies on race relations has placed a heavy emphasis on the language used in the

conversations, specifically on the link between language and expressing solidarity (Feagin and

Sikes 1995). Feagin and Sikes explored the issue in their work on Black middle class Americans.

As participants talked of experiences of discrimination, there were shifts from using the "I"

pronoun to describe personal experiences to the "we" pronoun. This shift to the use of "we"

signaled racial solidarity, a sense of togetherness and commonality of experiences, the

"collective character of the African American experience" (Feagin and Sikes 1995:16).

In the group interviews I conducted, phenotypically white participants used the pronoun

"We" in two ways: to denote the participant and his or her spouse, or to evoke a nation of people

("back home we have a huge racist problem with the gypsies"). There does not seem to be a

"collective character" of the immigrant experience in the US for my participants, neither along

racial lines nor immigrant status. Students of color, on the other hand, used "we" much more










often, both in reference to a nation of people ("we Indians") and to their status as immigrants in

the U.S. This suggests a disparity in the experiences of race dependent upon a person' s racial

classification in the U.S. that should be investigated further.

Sample size

Although this has been addressed in the methods chapter, I would like to emphasize the

importance and validity of small sample pilot studies. As a means to generate important themes

and discover grounds for future research, pilot studies are efficient and practical means to elicit

information. As they do not strive for generalizability, small sample sizes do not affect the

validity of the Eindings. Borrowing from the medical literature, a syndrome needs only one

patient to be identified, its characteristics and properties delineated. Any further incidence of the

syndrome only speaks to its distribution within a population.

In this sense, this research aims to identify some of the key concepts, themes, and factors

in phenotypically white immigrants' experiences with race and racial progressiveness. Even the

relatively small sample can generate important results. As Durkheim stated, you only need one

well done experiment to come up with a theory.

Future Avenues for Research

Regional Differences

While this study does not claim to generalize to the entire population, it would be a logical

avenue of research to examine the same questions in different geographical spaces. The

participants in the study made constant reference to the U.S. South as providing a specific

context for race and racial identities, and it can be reasonably assumed that perceptions may

differ according to different regional settings. I expect that greater differences could be

articulated by comparing urban and rural settings, especially ones with different levels of

immigrant populations.










Comparing White Immigrants and Native-born Whites

An important avenue for research would be to research first-generation white immigrants

and native-born white Americans, comparing the ways in which they articulate racial identities

and whether they articulate racially progressive stances. Following important works that

challenge the existence of a monolithic white experience, comparing the two groups can address

both the differences in whiteness due to the differing social locations of the participants, as well

as the similarities in experiences based on their ability to assume a white racial identity. While

this research has attempted to address some of these questions, a study that included participants

from both groups in the interviews would be better able to address issues of comparability in

experiencing white racial identities.

Comparing White Immigrants with Immigrants of Color

As noted above in the section on the language of solidarity, there seem to be disparities in

the ways that immigrants of color and immigrants who are classified as white experience racial

discrimination and develop a sense of solidarity. Studying the differentiation of immigrant

experiences with race based on their racial classification and the extent to which this promotes a

sense of solidarity, or in other words, racial progressiveness would be an important development.

Conclusion

This study contributes to the Hield of race and ethnic studies by addressing an area that is

under-researched: contemporary first-generation immigrants' experiences with a white racial

identity. While there may be many ways in which their experiences parallel white American's

negotiations of a white racial identity, these participants also offer distinct contributions to

whiteness studies. In examining how participants come to give meaning to and experience a

racial identity, whiteness is conceptualized as more than just privilege. Participants' experiences









of race as situated, relational, and conditional helped to problematize the conceptualization of

whiteness as a static identity (McDermott and Samson 2005).

Further, this study attempts to examine whether experiences with discrimination can lead

to a racially progressive consciousness for immigrant whites. Recognizing one's privileged

position is an essential step towards understanding one's role in perpetuating racism, and a

necessary step in order to take anti-racist action.

The development of a racially progressive consciousness is important in combating racism

both in the local and in the global context, for these participants can translate anti-racist action to

their home countries as well as their local communities. In an increasingly multi-racial Europe,

racial discrimination and racism will become an important paradigm through which to analyze

inequalities in these changing societies. The participants' experiences with discrimination in the

U.S. can translate into recognizing and challenging racism, as in Milan's example at the

beginning of chapter 5.

Although few participants may intend to return to their home countries, the links they

retain to their home countries (through families and friends, political structures and such,) can

influence discussions of ethnic exclusion and marginalization to include discussions of structural

and everyday racism. While it is not my intention to transpose the U.S. racial paradigm to other

countries, participants have recognized that some elements of racism as they experienced it in the

U.S. can apply to their home countries. O'Brien (2003) stresses that anti-racist action must

challenge structural racism as well as the "everyday rituals" that perpetuate white supremacy.

Just as Milan countered the racist discourse surrounding Gypsies in his home country by

challenging his peers to recognize structural and personal racism, many of the participants have

the opportunity to challenge everyday racism not only in the U.S., but also internationally. As the









world becomes increasingly globalized, and as racist images are perpetuated by the U.S.

dominated media on a global scale (Feagin, et al 2001, Vera and Gordon 2003), anti-racist whites

who have experienced racism in the U.S. context can become powerful allies for change.










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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Born in Italy and raised in the US since the age of 10, Georgia Bianchi has always been

interested in migration, and this thesis was based on her questioning her own experiences as an

immigrant to the US.

Her specializations in the field of sociology are race and ethnic studies and gender,

specializing in the sociology of migration. She received a B.A. in international studies, from the

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2001. She also received an M.A. in political

science, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2003.





PAGE 1

1 FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU AR E DIFFERENT: FIRST GENERATION IMMIGRANTS NEGOTIATING WHITENESS By GEORGIA E. BIANCHI A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Georgia E. Bianchi

PAGE 3

3 To my husband, without whose support my graduate career would never have taken flight.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank m y advisory committee for being especially patient and supportive. I thank my participants for their can did willingness to talk about thei r experiences as immigrants, and I thank my cohort and the department for the inte llectual and emotional s upport they have given me throughout the years.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................7 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE.............................................................................. 9 Introduction................................................................................................................... ............9 Research Questions......................................................................................................... 10 Significance................................................................................................................... ..12 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................14 Theoretical Influences......................................................................................................... ...14 Symbolic Interactionism.................................................................................................. 14 Intersectionality...............................................................................................................16 Empirical Literature Review................................................................................................... 18 Intersectionality and Immigration................................................................................... 18 White racial identity........................................................................................................ 20 Immigration and Whiteness............................................................................................. 22 Whites and Racial Progressiveness................................................................................. 23 This Researchs Contribution.................................................................................................25 3 METHODS.............................................................................................................................26 Research Design.....................................................................................................................26 The Group Interview....................................................................................................... 26 Instrument..................................................................................................................... ...27 Sample.............................................................................................................................29 Determining eligibility............................................................................................. 29 Sample characteristics.............................................................................................. 29 A note on participants of color.................................................................................31 Analysis....................................................................................................................... ...........31 Concerns.................................................................................................................................32 My Immigrant Experience...............................................................................................32 Participants Educational Level.......................................................................................34 Pilot Studies.................................................................................................................. ..........35 4 FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YO U ARE DIFFE RENT: NEGOTIATING WHITENESS..........................................................................................................................37 Immigrants and Whiteness..................................................................................................... 37 Race and the U.S. South: Situated Whiteness................................................................. 37

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6 The U.S. South as racist...........................................................................................38 The U.S. South as multicultural............................................................................... 40 You Are White But Not American: Wh iteness as Relational and Conditional ........... 41 Accent.......................................................................................................................42 Dress.........................................................................................................................44 Skin tone...................................................................................................................45 Summary.................................................................................................................................45 5 THE POTENTIAL FOR RA CIALLY PROGRESSIVE WHITES .........................................47 White Immigrants and the Potential fo r Racially Progressive Consciousness.......................47 Parameters for Racial progressiveness............................................................................48 Recognizing racism..................................................................................................48 Marginalization, privilege, a nd racial progressiveness............................................49 Taking action............................................................................................................52 Cautions...........................................................................................................................53 Summary.................................................................................................................................53 6 DISCUSSION AND FUTURE WORK..................................................................................55 Summary and Discussion of the Findings..............................................................................55 Summary of Findings......................................................................................................55 Giving meaning to race as situated, relational, and conditional...............................55 Racial progressiveness.............................................................................................56 Discussion of Findings....................................................................................................57 White racial identity: whiteness and nationality......................................................57 Old World regionalism and racial beliefs................................................................57 Racial progressiveness and constructing the other...................................................58 The language of solidarity........................................................................................60 Sample size...............................................................................................................61 Future Avenues for Research.................................................................................................. 61 Regional Differences.......................................................................................................61 Comparing White Immigrants and Native-born Whites.................................................62 Comparing White Immigrants with Immigrants of Color...............................................62 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................62 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................71

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7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU AR E DIFFERENT: FIRST GENERATION IMMIGRANTS NEGOTIATING WHITENESS By Georgia E. Bianchi December 2007 Chair: Hernn Vera Cochair: Alin Ceobanu Major: Sociology This study utilizes qualitative data collected fr om first generation immi grants living in the southeastern United States to examine the nego tiation of a white racial identity. Data were collected in same-race a nd race-mixed group interviews of tw o to four participants. Drawing on the theoretical perspectiv es of symbolic interact ionism and intersectional ity, this study examines the ways in which a white racial identity is negotia ted, and how it is tied to developing a racially progressive consciousness. Results focused on the interaction between whiteness and immigration to examine whiteness as a situated, relational identity. Additionally, interview data su ggest that ones white racial identity is conditional, where accessibility to white privilege was often mediated by factors such as language, accent and dress. The study also explores whether the particip ants' unique social location, as racially privileged yet marginalized as immigrants, can lead to a progressive racial consciousness. The implications of the study are twofold: fi rst, by addressing how phenotypically white immigrants negotiate a racial identity, I compli cate the static conceptualization of whiteness as privilege. Secondly, the development of a raci ally progressive consciousness by those in a

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8 racially privileged position can l ead to social change, both here and in the participants' home countries.

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9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE Introduction The concepts of race and race relations contin ue to play an enormous role in shaping individual lives in American society. Numerous studies have shown that discrimination by race is still an important factor in the U.S. (Bonilla-Silva 1997, 2006, Feagin, Vera and Batur 2001, Massey and Lundy 2001) whether in the context of housing market, mortgage or car loans, education and occupations. Yet, the predominant social discourse is one of downplaying race as an important factor in everyday life (Bonilla-Silva 2006), and the privileges associated with a white racial identity remain largely unexamin ed., invisible to those who benefit from it the most. (Rothenberg 2002:3) This exploratory study aims to present the pe rsonal experiences of im migrants in relation to race and racial discrimination in the U.S. S outh. Further, it will focus on phenotypically white immigrants and their experiences in developing a white racial identity, exposing whether their unique position as both white and immigrant allows for a more progressive racial consciousness. A large portion of my sample is phenotypically white, originating mostly from Eastern Europe, and thus has the option of engaging a privileged racial position in c ontrast to other participants in the sample, who could be categorized as people of color once in the United States (Feagin et al 2001, McIntosh 1988, Omi and Winant 1994.) Focusi ng on these participants allows me to examine the experiences of discrimination in a group of people who are in a position to access white privilege, as well as to examine whether th is white privilege is made available to them. Data was collection in four group interviews, wi th two to four participants in each group,

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10 yielding ten participants. Usi ng line-by-line coding I search ed for emerging themes and concepts relating to my research questions. I examine the particular meanings that people bo rn and socialized outside the U.S. give to race once they arrive and live in their new count ry. Immigrants in U.S. society can serve as outsiders within(Collins 1986), as they must l earn socially sanctioned ru les, and adapt to the racial dynamics they encounter upon arrival at the same time that they need to adapt their previously acquired beliefs on raci al matters. How they come to gi ve meaning to a white racial identity can make discrimination more visible, and can highlight the pr ivileges they come to enjoy over other participants of color in the sample. Most research and public discourse on th e interplay between immigration and race currently centers on migration from Mexico into the U.S. (Santa Ana, 2002.) The experiences of immigrants who would be classified as white are particularly missi ng from contemporary research. Most recent publications on immigration and race in the U.S. center on the wave at the turn of the 20th century, when Irish, Italian and Germans dominated the migration flows. (Guglielmo 2003, Guglielmo and Salerno 2003, Igna tiev 1995, Roediger 2006). Further, the analyses often ignore the importance of race as it affects whites; much theorizing on whites deals with ethnicity rather than race. This thesis will engage a more complicated conceptualization of whiteness and white privilege, offering instances wh ere ones privileged r acial status does not always afford social privileges. Research Questions This research centers on two m ain questions: (1) How do par ticipants give meaning to a white racial identity derived fr om their skin color and ethnicity ? and (2) Does their unique social position as white-ski nned but not American lead to racial tolerance?

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11 The first question addresses how phenotypically white immigrants give meaning to race in the U.S. context. Whites in the U.S. genera lly deny belonging to a race (Bonilla-Silva 2006, Feagin et al2001, Stoddart 2002), giving little if any racial meaning to whiteness, and obscuring their role in a racial hierarchy that privileges whites. I posit that phenotypically white immigrants must go through a racial learning process (S toddart 2002) in which they recognize more readily the privileges afforded to pe ople who are classified as white. Further, I aim to see if and how immigran ts who are phenotypically white access white privilege and on what terms. While the area of research on whiteness and white privilege has been growing in recent years (McDermott a nd Samson 2005), little has been done to validate how white racial identity and white privilege ar e experienced in peoples everyday lives. I expect to find that white privilege is not automatically granted to all those w ho look white, and aim to understand in what ways access to this privilege is made possible. The second question addresses whether phenot ypically white immigrants are uniquely positioned to develop a racially progressive, more tolerant consciousness. Defined as an awareness of privilege experienced due to ones white race, a recognition of racial discrimination faced by people of color, and anti -racist action, a racia lly progressive consciousness in whites is intimately linked to the meaning given to race in ones own life. I posit that immigrants have the potential to develop a racially progressive consciousness due to the learning process they encounter regarding race in the U.S., as well as the discrimination they personally face as immigrants. Participants voiced opposition to discrimination as experienced by themselves, as well as what they perceived others to have experienced. I ask whether ones experience of racism and discrimination leads to the developmen t of a racially progressive consciousness, and whether this has translated into solidarity with those who are perceived to suffer discrimination. I

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12 also ask whether this can extend beyond the boundaries of the Unite d States to include addressing racism and discrimination in the participants home countries. Significance It m ust be noted that phenotypically white immigrants do not constitute a numerical majority in contemporary immigration flows (P ortes and Rumbaut 1996), and that demographic projections cast that non-Hispani c whites will only constitute fi fty percent of the population in the year 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau 2004), as opposed to the current 72%. Why is it important to study white immigrants and whiteness at all, if the white populati on is declining and immigrants to the U.S. are largely non-white? One reason to continue to study whiteness is that, regardless of nu merical majority or minority, whiteness remains embedded as a priv ileged position in the hierarchy of race. Structural racism is based on a racial hierarc hy, whereby the race placed in the superior position tends to receive greater economic remunerati on and access to better oc cupationsoccupies a primary position in the political system, is granted higher social estimation... (Bonilla-Silva 1997:.469). Those who are able to claim a white iden tity, then, can reap benefits unavailable to people of color. Another reason to investigate whiteness is that many immigrants who may be attributed a minority racial status by others self-identify as white, as in the case of 50% of the Mexican origin population, according to the 1990 Census (Murguia and Forman 2003).This emphasizes the fluidity of racial categories, whose meanings sh ift over time and accommodate to contemporary definitions. So, on the one hand, whiteness has a structural significance as conceptualized within a hierarch ical framework of race, and on th e other there is the significance of race on a personal level. Whiteness, then, is not an endangered racial category, and continues to have significance in race and ethnic studies.

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13 The significance of this research is twofol d: adding complexity to our understanding on white racial identity by including the experiences of immigrants, as well as assessing the potential for the development of a racially progressive consciousness. First, this research will contribute to the few empirical st udies of immigrants white racial identity in the contemporary United States. It will also attempt to e xpand the notion of whiteness, moving beyond a conceptualization of a static, invisible and ever-p resent asset to a more situational identity whose ability to access white privilege varies upon many conditions. Secondly, the development of a racially progressive consciousness and, more importantly, turning that consciousness into ac tion, can be a catalyst for cha nge, at a personal and structural level. Eliminating discrimination is one of the d eclared aims of most We stern societies today, yet there is little dialogue on disc rimination or racism, and even le ss a discussion of the privileges afforded to whites. Perhaps experiencing disc rimination and privilege contemporaneously in ones day to day life can foster a willingness to challenge discriminati on and racism, both in ones immediate environment as well as in ones home country. In order to contextualize this study, the second chapter will review the literature on immigration and race, white racial identity, as we ll as theories of race in the U.S.. The third chapter will detail the methods and sample used in the thesis research, and the remaining chapters will present the results.

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14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Theoretical Influences Two m ain theoretical influences are guiding this research; symbolic interactionism (Blumer 1969) and intersectionality (Collins 2000) Rather than strictly follow particular methodologies associated with thes e theoretical perspectives, I cull useful elements from each and use them to inform my theoretical perspective. Symbolic Interactionism Because I am interes ted in the meanings partic ipants give to their experiences with race, symbolic interactionism is a us eful theoretical perspective to engage. Developed initially by George Herbert Mead (1972), the symbolic interact ionist approach emphasizes the meanings that people assign to everyday interactions, and the ways in which this affects their understanding of the world. As further developed by Blumer (1969) and Goffman (1959), symbolic interactionism shifted the theoretical focus of much sociological inquiry from the objective to the subjective, from structure to interpersonal interaction, from macro to micro level analysis (Cuff, Sharrock, and Francis 2003). The emphasis on studying indi viduals and micro-level interaction is important to my research project, as I aim to understand how people give meaning to race in their everyday lives. Symbolic interactionism further stresses th e interpersonal relations as a key to ones development of a sense of self and, therefore, to ones understanding of the world. A person not only has a sense of ones own identity, but that sense is shaped by interac tion with others and an interpretation of others perception of ones self. This is ap tly described by the term the looking glass self (Cooley [1902] 1956), wherein people deve lop a sense of self in concert with what they interpret others views towards themselves to be. This becomes especially important in the

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15 participants development of a racial sense of self within a U.S. context, because, as we shall see, the way that people begin to give meaning to a racial self is through in teraction with others. Further, symbolic interactionism elevates peoples perceptions of reality as an important part of the data to analyze. This is best know n as the Thomas theorem, in which W.I. Thomas states: If [people] define situatio ns as real, they are real in th eir consequences. This statement allows me to analyze the responde nts narratives and privilege the meanings they give to certain situations, regardless of whether I w ould assign different meanings to them. In my analysis, there are some instances in which the respondents interpretation of a situation would differ from my own. For exampl e, in one interview, a young female graduate student from Eastern Europe and phenotypically white, described a situation in which she felt discriminated against because of race. Taking place in a grocery store, the black cashier had let other black customers with fewer items in front of her, and she interpreted this situation as indicative of racial discrimination. While it may ha ve been likely that the cashier let people in front of her because they had fewer items and she had an entire cartload, a matter of convenience rather than of discrimination, it is not important that I try to rationalize the racial meaning the participant has assigned to the situation Rath er, I must privilege her interpretation of the incident, and draw from it an an alysis of the meanings she give s to race in that instance. Adopting elements of a symbolic interactionist approach, then, a llows me to privilege peoples understandings of race and give importance to th e social interactions that activate and shape these understandings. However, there are limitations to any body of theory. Symbolic interactionism is unsuited in all situations, and one such situation is anal yzing the importance of st ructure and power as it applies to race. While privilegi ng an analysis of race as socially constructed through everyday

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16 experiences is important, symbolic interactionism s focus on the micro level must be tempered with an approach that allows for the analysis of power and structure. An intersectional approach allows for greater flexibility in researching releva nt forces shaping racial experiences, linking the personal to the structural for a critic al analysis of processes and power. Intersectionality The intersectional appro ach was popularized by Patricia Hill Collins (1986), and has remained an important contribution to sociol ogical theory. Collins thus introduced the significance of looking not only at gender or race individually, but at gender, race and class simultaneously. Only by simultaneously anal yzing these dimensions of oppression could research reach a better understanding and th eorizing of black womens simultaneous oppression as black and as women.. The approach originated because black women, as Collins showed, had been doubly forgotten and ignored in scholarly research projects, as results were generalized to black women in terms of belonging either to the black race or the female sex. Research addressing either race or gender did not present accurate analyses of black womens experiences, and only a simultaneous analysis of race, gender and class could. By transcending a dualistic and oppositional paradigm, often pitting gender or race as the primary lens of discrimination, the intersectional approach recogni zes the multiple facets of disc rimination against black women. While Collins addressed black women in particular, she acknowledge d that other groups may benefit from an intersectiona l analysis, and that each group would have a specific set of salient interlocking factors (Collins 2000) in ad dition to race, class, and gender. Scholars have identified other factors to incl ude in an intersectional approac h, such as sexuality (Grewal and

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17 Kaplan 2001, Thorne 1995), age, religion, nation, a nd citizenship, in order to better analyze particular groups experiences. Another important advantage of the intersectiona l approach is the conceptualization of the outsider within elaborated from Georg Simm els The Stranger (Simmel as quoted in Wolff 1950). Collins places black women sociologists as outsiders within the discipline of sociology due to their particular social location in U.S. so ciety, and theorizes that their perspective can add to the field by challenging some of the nor ms, reevaluating key assumptions, and bringing another point of view to th e discipline of sociology. Adapting intersectionality to my research, my analysis engages race, class, and gender as well as immigration as important interlocking f actors when analyzing immigrant experiences with race. By selecting phenotypically white i mmigrants to participate in a study on race, I engage participants who are privileged in so me dimensions (race, educational level) and marginalized in others (as immigrants, as women for some of the participants). Likewise, I place people who immigrate as out siders within in the larger U.S. society, and theorize that an intersectional analysis of their experiences will add a dimension to the construction of a white racial identity, and gene rate a better understandi ng of how privilege and marginalization can serve to foster racial pr ogressiveness among whites. Because they have gone through a learning process (Stoddart 2002) as out siders to the racial hierarchy in the U.S., immigrants are more likely than white American s to have considered whiteness as a racial identity and be able to talk about it. Recent work addressing the difficulty in conducting intersectional res earch (McCall 2005) points to the value of interdisciplinary research and to the exploration of marginalization as a process rather than as a given condition of any society. While the complexity of conducting

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18 intersectional research poses a ch allenge for any scholar, the benef its of this approach merit a concerted effort to add to the literature a nd to reach a more complex understanding of the intersectionality of immigration. Empirical Literature Review The following section explores the empirical areas relevant to m y research, engaging themes of intersectionality, immigration, whitene ss and work on white racial progressiveness. Intersectionality and Immigration While the empirical literature on im migration acknowledges that discrimination in the U.S. is based on economic, racial or gendered factors, qualitative works rarely engages all three simultaneously to provide a more complete analysis. My study endeavors to fill that gap and link the intersectional approach to immigration, adapting the approach to best capture the experiences of immigrants in the U.S.. Intersectional analyses of immigrants ar e rare, although race, gender, and class are addressed individually in severa l case studies. Gender and migrati on are examined together, as the field has begun to consider the ways in whic h migration can be a ge ndered process and hold differing outcomes for women and men (Cha nt and Radcliffe 1992, Hondagneu-Sotelo 1992, 1994, Kofman 2004, Pedraza 1991, Pessar 1999, Tienda and Booth 1991). Studies of race and migration are also abundant, (Denton and Massey 1989, Warikoo 2005, Woldemikael 1989), especially with regard to the racial formation of Latinos and Asians in th e U.S. (Omi and Winant 1994). Within gender scholarship, much research has been conducted on various facets of immigration. For example, the intersection of immi gration and gender is evident in the literature on carework (Aranda 2003, Litt and Zimmerman 2003), violence (Menjivar and Salcido 2002),

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19 mothering (Dreby 2005, Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila 1997, Moon 2003) and social networks (Hagan 1998). Intersectional analyses of immigrants engaging race, class and gender simultaneously are rare, although a few works approach migration using this method of analysis. (Brah 1993, Essed 1996, Raijman and Semyonov 1997). A most recent example is Shu-Ju Ada Chengs (2003) analysis of foreign domestic workers in Taiw an. The intersectional approach she adopted allowed a much more complex analysis of how discrimination against the workers was racialized and gendered, implicating state policies (in terms of withholding of citizensh ip), the racialization of the foreign as essentially different from the native populat ion, and the gendered nature of carework as simultaneously margin alizing foreign domestic workers. The intersectional analysis allowed Cheng to move beyond one-dimensional anal yses of discrimination and provide a more complex understanding of the construc tion of marginalization in Taiwan. Ethnographically inclined research (Torre 2001, Berger 2004), where immigrant women share their experiences which are then recoun ted in narrative form, is also a forum for intersections of race, class and gender emerge from personal narratives. Although the authors may not formally espouse an intersectional appr oach, the resulting immi grant narratives show the significance of interlocking factors in de termining their experiences in their adopted countries. The women in Andrea Torres (Torre 2001) recounting of immigrant experiences in Italy clearly mention their encounters with gendere d and racialized discrimination, as well as an ascription of class that often doe s not match their own perceptions of themselves. In applying a more explicit intersectional analysis to my own work, I intend to emphasize the gendered and classed dimensions of the participants experiences with race.

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20 White racial identity As evidenced by the introductory ch apter, an important focus of this research project is the expansion of work on white racial id entity as an important facet to better understanding the larger issues of race and ethnicity in the United States. The origins of whiteness studies lie at the turn of the 20th century, when scholars of colo r included examinations of whiteness as part of the larger study of race and ethnicity. (DuBois 2004). However, as McDermott and Samson (2005) suggest, the focus of much of recent scholar ship in U.S.-based race and ethnic studies has been on minorities: Sociologists of race and ethnicity have rightfully criticized the almost exclusive focus on nonwhites in studies of racial iden tity, implying that whites have no racial identity but are instead treated as the base group to which others are compared.(McDermott and Samson 2005:250). In order to better understand race and racism, it is important to also research the supposed beneficiaries of racial discrimination (Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin, Vera, and Batur 2001, McKinney 2005). The current politics of colo rblind racism (Bonill a-Silva 2006, Omi and Winant 1997) are based on the white denial of a white race and, cons equently, race-based privilege (of which they are recipients). By casti ng whiteness as a racial identity, researchers can implicate whites in a racial hierarchy of privilege and discrimination, and emphasize each persons involvement in this system. Therefore, an examination of white privilege is key to understanding a white racial identity. A particular characteristic intrinsic to wh ite racial identity as it has been largely defined in sociological studies is the concept of white privilege. White privilege is defined as the unearned privileges people enjoy due to a pr ivileged racial positi on, and can extend from occupational and educational advantages to ever yday security and authority. McIntoshs (1988) exploration of white privilege in her own life is a meditation on the invisible advantages that

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21 being white affords people in the U.S.. She casts these privileges invisible to the people who possess them, unrecognized unless one has gone through a particular ly intense period of selfcriticism. Further, other researchers have noted that white privilege is not only something whites can access personally, but it is something that ha s been built into many institutions in U.S. society (Bonilla Silva 2006, Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin et al 2001, McKinney 2005). In analyzing white privilege, it is important to explore to what degree this privilege is accessible by whites and in what manners this access may be modified. While there have been some studies that problematize universal access to white privilege by looking at poor, rural (Buck 2001) or working class (Har tigan 1999) whites reduced access to it, white privilege is still largely under-researched. Further, there are other ways in which white racial identities are significant. There has been a historical con ceptualization of whiteness as si mply invisible privilege; of whiteness as the neutral category against wh ich everybody else is m easured; an assumed, implicitly privileged status. Many research ers Alba(1990), Frankenberg (2001), Roediger (1999),Waters (1990), among others- urge a shift in thinking about white racial identity as more complex than [others] had previously consider eda focus on whiteness as a situated identity, not as an identity of uniform privilege but as a complex social identity whose meaning is imparted by the particular context in which white actors are located. (McDermott and Samson 2005:250). Jaret and Reitzes (1999) for example, undertook a large scale study to determine the importance of racial identity, including whiteness in different physical settings (the home, the workplace, in public). They found va riability in the salie nce of ones racial identity both among races generally, and across different locations wi thin and between races. Their findings speak to

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22 the importance of recognizing the varied salienc e of racial identity in different physical and social settings. Immigration and Whiteness Just as there is a focus o n non-whites in th e study of race and ethnicity, there exists a similar focus on immigrants as minorities. This is especially so with the contentious discourse over the U.S.-Mexico border a nd illegal immigration dominati ng public discourse (Santa Ana 2002), resulting in little attention paid to immigr ants whose race is white. Rather, the discourse seems to assume that white immigrants are not a problem and will assimilate more easily. This can be paralleled to the ethnicity theory of race, where white ethnics were perceived to assimilate easily into U.S. society (Omi and Winant 1997). Ethnicity theory focuses on the experiences of immigrant groups at the turn of the century, whose assimilation into the U.S. society was predicated on a model that did not account for racial difference, and generalized their process of assimilation to all other ethnic groups in the U.S., including native born blacks. Ethnicity theory pr edicts that there are cu ltural reasons for why U.S. blacks have not assimilated as immigrants at the turn of the century, perhaps best exemplified in Gunnar Myrdals (1944) report on The Negro Problem. Myrdal holds that while there are racist barriers in pl ace preventing African Americans from integrating (segregationist laws as the most obvious), when these barriers are removed, African Americans will face similar conditions to immigrants at the turn of the centu ry, and the choice to assi milate will be theirs. This approach is problematic because is ignores the significance of race as a hierarchical ordering in U.S. society (Omi a nd Winant 1997). While the problem s with ethnicity theory have been largely acknowledged and theorizing has moved on to different models (Portes and

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23 Rumbaut 1996, Portes and Zhou 1993), the empirica l studies of immigration and whiteness largely have not addressed contemporary immigration. Studies focusing on immigration and whites are largely analyzing race within the context of turn of the century immigra tion to the U.S. and the whiteni ng of various immigrant groups of European extraction (Guglielmo 2003, Guglie lmo and Salerno 2003, Ignatiev 1995, Roediger 2006). While many studies problematize the assumpti on that even immigrant groups of European extraction assimilated easily, a dopting more critical approaches than ethnicity theory allows for, there remains a lack of research on contemporary immigration and whiteness. Whites and Racial Progressiveness An i mportant direction in the studies of wh iteness and race is the mechanisms by which whites begin to recognize their positions of privilege and begin to develop a racially progressive consciousness. There is no single definition of what makes a person racial ly progressive within the discipline of sociology or within the larger fiel d of race and ethnic studies There are, however, a number of texts that address bot h structural factors that predis pose groups of people to be more racially progressive, as well as various personal ch aracteristics associated with people considered to be racially progressive. In addressing structural factors, group positio ns affect whether and how people experience oppression and come to recognize it as an importa nt factor shaping the lives of other groups. Groups of people who experience discrimination ha ve been thought to be better predisposed to recognize their groups position of privilege alon g other dimensions. For example, white women as a group have been cited as inhabiting a singul ar position in the patterns of oppression, being both racial oppressors and being oppressed by gender discriminati on (Feagin et al 2001:231). It could be argued, then, that white womens experiences with gender discrimination would

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24 translate into insights into racial discrimina tion experienced by people of color in the U.S.. However, Feagin found that experiencing gender discrimination alone is not necessarily enough to influence understandings of racial discrimi nation (Feagin et al 2001 :.231). Experiencing one dimension of oppression (gender, for white women) was not suffici ent to translate to understanding other dimensions of oppression. Rather, groups of people who experience multiple oppressions are more likely to share li terally a social space as well as a set of experiences that tend to develop a sense of commonality (Bonilla Silva 2006:145). Groups that share experiences of the multiple oppressi ons are more likely to develop cross-racial understandings. So white women who are stigmatized in other ways are the most likely to experience solidarity and exhibit racial progre ssiveness (because of sexuality or class, for example). There have also been studies that measured racial progressivene ss by looking at personal characteristics that influence racial progr essiveness (Berube 2001, Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Rassmussen, Klineberg, Nexica and Wray 2001). Eduardo Bonilla Silva (2006) delineated a number of ways in which he measured ra cial progressiveness. He measured racial progressiveness by assessing his pa rticipants support for interracial marriage and affirmative action, having close relationships with peopl e of color, and will ingness to acknowledge discrimination as a central fact or affecting the lives of minor ities today. Peggy McIntosh (1990) encourages a critical analysis a nd awareness of ones own white pr ivilege as a stepping stone to racial progressiveness. Feagin et. al. ( 2001) cite acknowledging ones own racism and developing empathy with African Americans as cr ucial to developing an anti-racist, racially progressive consciousness.

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25 This Researchs Contribution In focusing on contem porary, white immigr ants understandings and experiences of whiteness, I aim to expand the empirical literatu re on whiteness as a situated, relational, and complex identity. I apply elements of symbolic in teraction and intersectionality to analyze the particular contributions of immigr ants experiences with race, in order to examine the particular meanings people give to race as well as the ways in which their social location influences their experiences. Further, I hope to complicate the con ceptualization of white privilege as accessible to anyone with white skin in the U.S., and explore that particular ways in which this access is modified in immigrants experiences. According to the measures described above, I also posit that immigrants, in general, and phenotypically white immigrants, specifically, have an increased potential for developing a racially progressive consciousness. Personal experiences with discrimination as well as structural dimensions of oppre ssion combine to position the research participants at a nexus where the development of a racially progres sive consciousness is possible and likely.

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26 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Research Design I sele cted small, in-depth, semi-structured group interviews to explore the research questions and as the most appr opriate method to gather answer s to my research questions. Interview data were collected between May and June of 2006, in 4 group interviews, for a total of ten participants. Qualitative research methods were selected because they better render indepth analyses of personal experience s and allow explorations of meanings. The Group Interview There are a num ber of distinct ions that make a group interview setting the most desirable method for my research aims. The first is that, unlike one-on-one interv iews, group interviews allow for multivocality, where participants build on each others shared experiences and there is a genuine give and take of experiences, as well as questioning of responses (Denzin and Lincoln 1998, Holstein and Gubrium 1995). Conversations can flow with minimal direction from the researcher, who nonetheless prefac es the interview by explaining th e topic of inquiry and guides the conversation during the interview. By having part icipants interact with one another, the flow of conversation and subjects can become part of the data to analyze, and allows for the participants to elicit new themes that the res earcher may not have anti cipated. Group interviews transcend the individual knower and allow for a community of knowers to share experiences, offering a more complex and varied analysis of the themes discussed (DeVault 1996). The small number of participants per group en sured that potential negative effects of the group interview setting (one pa rticipant dominating the group, interfering with individual

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27 expression) was controlled for. I ndividuals were more likely to cr eate a running dialogue within the interview setting, fost ering a back and forth between themselves and leaving me to listen. I was also able to guide the conversations and to circle back to answers I felt needed more explanations without upsetting the dynamics within the small group. Practical considerations for adopting group interviews include the ability to reach more people in less time than individual interviews woul d allow, as well as free ing the researcher to observe unspoken reactions to topics of discussion (Denzin and Lincoln 1998) I was able to take jotted notes of non-verbal inte ractions during the interviews, writing my observations out more fully after the end of th e interview. These non-vocal elements of the interview also become part of the data to be analyzed, and give a more laye red account of the way in which participants talk about, give meaning to, and react to the topic of inquiry. Further, the non-vocal cues contribute to the analytical context in which I strive to give meaning the participants answers that is faithful to their intended meaning as they spoke the answers. Instrument I m odeled the semi-structured interviews after Holstein and Gubriums The Active interview (1995), which pushes the researcher in to moving beyond regarding the interview as an extension of a survey, reconceptua lizing the interaction a researcher has with participants. This influenced the way in which I designed the inte rview guide and the way in which I interacted with the participants. The interview guide was based on questions I anticipated to be important, but was also geared to adapt from one interview to the next in order to incorporat e developing issues. The participants were conceptualized as active knowers capable of in forming me about the issues I deemed important, but also capable of build ing knowledge in conjunction with the other

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28 participants and the researcher The knowledge produced in an active interview is reflexive, emergent, and situated knowledge that is built a nd given meaning within the particular context of the interview rather than as a static, unchanging opinion or fact that a person holds for his or her entire life. A flexible interview guide allows the interviews to have some internal consistency as to topics covered, but also to value the particular issues a gr oup of respondents deems important to share. I was able to follow the in terview guide I had developed, but I was also free to follow the participants conversations into ar eas that I had not asked about or envisioned as important. Rather than discard th is information as superfluous, w ithin the active interview, all information shared with the researcher is po tentially important and can become a part of subsequent interview guides. Further, my conduct within the interview set ting was also influenced by active interview tenets. The researcher is viewed as always a part of the interview, and while she should be careful not impose her meaning onto participants answers and avoid leadi ng questions, her role in the interview setting need not be minimal or sterile. Rather, in opposition to positivist research which conceives of the interviewer as an absolute observer, I put forward that the researcher is an always and already biased individual, holding opinions and knowle dge about the subject she is researching, bringing these opinions and kn owledge into the intervie w setting. This stance allowed me to disclose my pers onal history as an immigrant to the US when it was asked of me, or when I deemed it important to the conversation. In all instance s, participants asked why I was interested in studying the subject of race, and my ability to answer truthfully helped build rapport and establish trust between myself and the participants.

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29 Sample Determining eligibility The first step in form ulating a sample was de termining eligibility to participate in the research project. This entailed a definition of th e term immigrant. While it may seem simple at first, the definition of immi grant encompasses many dimens ions; beyond moving from one country to another, there are many other factors to consider. For instance: How long does one have to live in a new country to be considered an immigrant, as opposed to a visitor? What role does intent play in the definition? If one intends to return to their native country at the end of their studies is s/he an immigrant, as opposed to one who intends to remain in the U.S.? If someone immigrates as a young child, should he/she be considered an immigrant? These are only some of the questions I encountered in dete rmining whom I could recruit to participate in my study. In considering all of the above, I determined that two criteria should be fulfilled for participation in the study. As my study aims to address first generation immigrants, the first criterion is that the participants have been bor n abroad. Secondly, I sought participants who selfidentified as an immigrant. This is important because I seek to understand how immigrants experience the racial dynamics in the U.S. Becau se being an immigrant is hardly a strictly delineated status, I chose to allow as wide a defi nition as possible, in or der to include as much variability and to allow as ma ny participants as possible. Sample characteristics The research was conducted in Collegev ille, USA. The immigrant population in Collegeville USA is quite large, due both to the State Universitys ability to attract foreign students and staff as well as the states immigr ation history. I recruited the participants through

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30 personal contacts, and asked that they bring a ny willing acquaintances who met the requirements to the group interviews. This resu lted in a convenience sample of te n participants, interviewed in groups of between two and four participants per group interview. The group interviews lasted from one to tw o hours, and were conducted on-campus. They were organized according to the schedules of th e participants, in orde r to accommodate their availabilities and comfort. The group interviews were recorded and s ubsequently transcribed. Participants were given pseudonym s during transcription in order to avoid identifying them in subsequent reports. The sample consisted of 10 people, 7 females and 3 males, their ages ranging from 29 to 39. Their countries of origin are: Bulgaria (1), India (1), Ireland (1), Nicaragua (1), Romania (1), Slovakia (1), Uganda(1), and Ukraine (3). In response to the question How do you identify your race/ethnicity? the participants listed white (5), Ukrainian-white (1), white-Romanian(1), Hispanic (1),Asian (1), and African-Ugandan(1). All participants had attained the equivalent of a Bachelors degree, and eight out of the ten were either pursuing or had attained graduate degrees. Among the participants, some were work acquainta nces or friends, and others had no previous relationships to the other participants. The resulting convenience sample, because of its geographical location and time constraints, does not claim to be nationally representative of immigrants as a group. Instead, I strived to include as much varia tion in immigrant history (i.e. tim e of migration to the US, reason for migration, whether alone or with family, etc.), as well as nationality and ethnicity, so as to engage as many perspectives and experiences as possible.

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31 A note on participants of color When I initially designed the research questi ons, I was also interest ed in looking at how imm igrants of color gave meaning to race. As the data analysis progressed and clearer analytic themes emerged, I focused on the phenotypically white participants. However, I did not discard the participants of color from the sample for two reasons. First, I had anticipated that discussions of whiteness and white privilege might vary acco rding to the racial makeup of the group to be interviewed. Therefore, I held group interviews in which participants were white-only, white and non-white, as well as non-white only. The convers ations about whiteness ge nerated in the racemixed group interview are, then, just as valid as those generated in white-only groups. Second, although their responses figure less prominently in this research, the persp ective of participants of color on whiteness can be instructive, and their experiences can serve to contrast those of the white participants. Analysis The analysis of the intervie ws was continuous throughout th e data collection process. Rather than separating the phases of data collection (the intervie ws) from analysis (poring over the transcripts), I continually engaged in analysis throughout the project. Practically speaking, this meant that rather than abiding firmly by my interview guide, I was able to adapt topics and questions from one interview to the next, enrich ing the data collected and allowing others to respond to themes and issues that I had not include d in my initial questions. This allowed me to continually alter the study to best follow the lead s in the data collection, resulting in increased comparability between interviews and more complex data analysis in the end. In coding the transcripts for emerging themes I focused on the participants experiences regarding race. As themes emerged in one interv iew, I searched across the other interviews for

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32 comparable or contrasting themes, attempting to construct a coherent na rrative of the themes found in the analysis (Denzin and Lincoln 1998). Concerns As with any research, there are areas of concern that need to be acknowledged and exam ined. First, my position as a researcher was foremost in my mind (as with most researchers) as a possible source of bias. In an effort to be reflexive, I outline some of the ways in which my position as an immigrant has influenced the resear ch. Further, there is al so a concern regarding the limitations of the sample itself. My Immigrant Experience Engaging Marjorie DeV aults (1996) analysis of feminist methods, as well as Holstein and Gubriums (1995) conceptualization of the activ e interview, I disclosed my personal immigrant history, having come to the US as a child a nd remembering instances where I learned and internalized racial norms. Being an immigrant fuels my interest in this topic of research, but it can also be a source of bias. My experience guided assumptions about important themes and questions to be asked as much as the literature concerning ra ce did. I entered the interview setting with expectations and hypotheses about wh at the answers to my questions might be. In order to address this concern, I designed the inte rviews to be semi-structured so that while the questions I asked guided the convers ations, at least initia lly, the participants were encouraged to share their own experiences. An active, semi-s tructured interview, then, encourages the communal building of knowledge an d transcends the limitations I may have unwittingly placed through the interview guide.

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33 My position as an immigrant can also become the basis for shared knowledge between the participants and myself. For exam ple, many times during the interviews, I could sympathize with my participants explanations of longing for home or disorienting racial experiences in this country. Rather than ask for explanations of these feelings or further cl arifications, I too often assumed shared knowledge between us and instinc tively agreed with their statements (Schwalbe and Wolkomir 2002). In these situations, my positi on as an immigrant to the U.S. allowed me to assume shared knowledge, when as a research er I should have aske d for clarification. As always, there is a negotiation between th e advantages and disadvantages of position. While in one context it may hinder th e researchers instinct to ask for clarification, thus resulting in loss of data (Schwalbe and Wolkomir 2002), in another it will create an atmosphere of shared experiences, in which participants will be willi ng to communicate their opinions and meanings more openly. As Manohar (2006) st ates, insider or shared knowle dge with the participants can be beneficial. Asking for too much clarification can negatively affect th e dialogue taking place, halting conversation and creating an atmosphere where respondents feel what they say may not be correctly interpreted. In all of the interviews, my position as an immigrant legitimat ed the questions I was asking of the participants. All four groups asked about my motivation for the research, and responded positively upon hearing that the que stions were partly based on my experience as an immigrant. For example, Ajit, a young Asian graduate student, was recruited through a friend and was initially diffident about answering questions. Halfway into the interv iew, he insisted that I share my motivations for researching race and immigra tion. After I did so, his demeanor became more responsive and his answers more in depth.

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34 This commonality with my participants canno t be judged as either entirely positive or negative, but its effects should be noted. In some cases, the n, the shared experiences may have resulted in less clarification on my part and le ss elaborate answers drawn from the participants. This can also be due to my limited experience as an interviewer. On the other hand, being an immigrant was viewed positively by the participants and often legitimated my interest in racial experiences, allowing them to be more expansive in their discussions. Participants Educational Level Additionally, a concern regards th e s ample and the biases that are inherent within it. While no sample is ever truly unbiased, there are characteri stics that ensure a sample to be more or less biased. Because this research was conducted in University Tow n, the sample is comprised of individuals between 29 and 39, w ith a minimum of a Bachelors degree (or their national equivalent) and eight out of ten were pursuing or had attained higher educ ational degrees. It is clear that the sample represents highly educat ed students and professiona ls, and this must be remembered as an important factor. The dialogu e taking place is firmly situated within the peoples social location, and with regards to education and prof ession, there is little variation within my sample. These factors, then, cast my sample as repres entative of a homogeneity in education status, and can be cast as a proxy for class. Although oc cupying differing levels of privilege in regards to visa status (some have US citizenship, others have student or work visas, a much more precarious situation) or occupa tions (regularly employed versus students), the participants resemble each other in both educational levels an d age, lending some inte rnal consistency to the sample and specifying the parameters of the soci al location of my sample. So, while my sample may not be as varied along the lines of educatio n and age, this helps to delineate the population that I am researching and makes my results more tail ored to a particular group.

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35 Rather than frame this as a limitation of the sa mple, I have chosen to use the similarity in educational and class backgrounds of my sample to further prove the importance of intersectionality. The similarity in class backgr ound will serve to highlight the importance of race, gender, and nation in both the analysis of the participants experiences, but also in the differential ways that they are treated in th e US context. Because US rhetoric concerning immigrant success stories relies heavily on Horatio Alge r-like notions of self-sufficiency and individual potential for class mobility (Steinbe rg 2001), an analysis of differential treatment based on race and gender can highlight the dimens ions of social location that might interfere with integration. This similarity in educati onal status will undoubtedly affect the kind of experiences and knowledge shared by the participants, but needs no t be a hindrance to this research. While many works highlight the experiences of immigrants in more precarious positions with regards to documented vs. undocumented legal status, class, social capital and more (Hondagneu-Sotelo 1992, 1994, Kosic and Triandafyllidou 2004, Menjvar and Salcido 2002, Woldemikael 1989), this work will explore the contri butions of immigrants who are in a position of privilege with regard to these dimensions. Pilot Studies This research was undertaken as a pilot or exploratory study. Much of the literature concern ing white immigrants focu ses on the early 20th century, and this research instead targets contemporary white immigrants. While there will likely be overlap in themes and analyses, I wanted to approach this res earch without making assumptions of commonalities between white immigrants now and those immigrating at the tu rn of the century. I intended to approach contemporary white immigration as a new field, because of the relative dearth in research

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36 addressing the research questions pu t forth in this research. In this sense, a pilot studys loose, inductively oriented design works well when the terrain is unfamiliar and the intent is exploratory(Huberman and Miles 1998:185). Exploratory studies, then, seek not only to draw informed anal yses from the interviews, but also to explore themes and inform future res earch. By designing the study to include fewer but more in-depth interviews, I hoped to generate unique themes and anal yses pertinent to the researching of contempo rary white immigrants.

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37 CHAPTER 4 FIRST YOU ARE WHITE, THEN YOU AR E DIFFERE NT: NEGOTIATING WHITENESS Immigrants and Whiteness How do participan ts give meaning to a white racial identity derived from their skin color and ethnicity? This chapter focuses on the mean ings imparted to race by phenotypically white participants. How do the participants give mean ing to race once they have reached the U.S.? How do they talk about and make sense of entering and living in a racially hierarchical society in which they have not presumably been sociali zed? This chapter seeks to understand how the participants negotiate a racial, a nd specifically, a white identity in the U.S. racial system. To that end, I will focus on the participants who are phe notypically white (five females and two males) and who self-identified as white during the group interviews. As has been previously stated, the literature calls for a focus on whiteness as a situated identity, not as an identity of uniform privileg e but as a complex social identity whose meaning is imparted by the particular context in which white actors are located. (McDermott and Samson 2005:250). Some studies have problematized white ness as privilege by examining whiteness and poverty (Buck 2001), sexuality (Berube 2001), cla ss and urban-rural loca tion (Hartigan 1999). I aim to focus on the interaction of whiteness and immigration to examine wh iteness as a situated, relational identity, where access to white privilege is modified by f actors such as accent, dress, and class. Race and the U.S. South: Situated Whiteness Much recent research has em phasized the im portance of space and place in many areas, such as doing gender (Marsiglio, Roy, and Litton Fox 2005, Connell 2000), feminism (Guerrero 1996, Heng 1996), and a few have addressed the impor tance of place and ethinicity/race (Nagel

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38 1994, Jaret and Reitzes 1999). Looking at place, or grounding an analysis of race within a situated context, can offer important insights into how a white racial identity can be influenced by outside factors. To cast whiteness as a situated identity is to recognize that whiteness becomes salient in certain contexts, and takes on different meanings in different contexts. For example, whiteness may have a different salience and meaning in a mathematics classroom versus a class on minorities in U.S. society. Jaret and Reitzes (1999) explored the differences in salience of race in settings such as the home, at work, and in publ ic. From the coded interview data, there are two main themes that emerged in which whiteness as an identity was importa ntly situated within nested contexts: the U.S. South and rural towns in the South, The U.S. South as racist When discussing race and racial identity, the m ajority of th e participants took pains to preface their remarks as originating from their ex perience living in the rural U.S. South. For the majority of the sample, the U.S. South (particula rly the states of Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi), is the only place in which they have lived within the United States. Almost all participants mentioned that they drew on their e xperiences as immigrants in the U.S. South, and that perhaps their experiences would be different had they resided in other locations. As Milan explains, living in the deep South, doesnt give you the lesson [about race] that you probably would get if you lived in up nort h (Milan professional). Within the context of the South, the participants also qualified the spaces in which they lived and experienced race as rural spaces, often in rural college towns. Interview data convey that participants thought whites in sma ll, rural towns to be more racist:

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39 You see it in the grocery st oreMy husband, you know, hell open the door for whoever and Ive witnessed people sort of looking at him, other white people looking at him because hes opened the door for a black lady. You know, out in the country. (Eileen, professional) InterviewerDo you feel that racism is still prevalent? MilanOh very much so, in the deep south, ye s. And in South Carolina. I just came back from there 2 weeks ago, and I feel like people still, and for a long time they will, continue to look down on the blacks and see themse lves as superior. (Milan, professional) JenicaThere were slaves 40 years ago, probably they expect them to be slaves in their minds. InterviewerIn whose minds? JenicaIn the Americans mind, especially al l the whites. (Jenica, graduate student) There is a parallel constr uction of race as particul arly significant in the rural U.S. South and of whites in the South as racist. Participants pe rceived the South as a pl ace steeped in racism, where slavery (as mentioned by Jenica) was only recently dismantled. Further, they perceived that the legacy of slavery still influences pe ople in the South, and specifically whites. This perception of the South has been paralle led in other studies (McKinney 2005). It is within the perception of a racist U.S. South that the participants base their racial identities and experiences. Milan, again, highlights this fact as he recounts his first experiences in the U.S.. ... when I came to South Carolina, and that town was totally you know, small and rural and full of .. uhh. people who are not very welcomi ng to immigrants. But I was from Europe. And I think I had a completely different experience than other people. And it definitely helped that I took my studies seriously, and I wa s the best student, a nd blah blah, all that jazz. But I think just because I was white people could, you know, look at me different. Because I attended some international students panels and I could immediately tell by the questions that were asked of me and of students who were black or Hispanic that they had a different feeling towards where I came from (Milan, professional) Here, as in many interviews, the physical set ting (rural South) was an important dimension to the participants experience of race in general, and of their understandi ng of how race affected

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40 them personally. In Milans quote, we can draw a connection between his perception of the setting and the people who populate it, as he asso ciates small, rural to wns with people who do not welcome immigrants. He then goes on to detail how his racial stat us qualified his experience, because, as he states, being from Europe and white gave him some advantages. He perceived that his experience was different from other peoples, and not as discriminatory, because of his privileged white racial status in this rural, sma ll college town. Whiteness in and of its elf is a privilege, in this case, accessed whether it is linked to an American identity or not. As we shall see later in the chapter, this is not always the case. The U.S. South as multicultural Thus, place can influenc e how a white racial identity can provide pr ivileges within a certain context. Above, Milan discussed the privilege s he benefited from as a white student in the South, referencing a southern to wn populated by intolerant people, where his whiteness afforded him advantages over other intern ational students of color. On the other hand, articulating a different pe rception of a physical setting can complicate how racial privilege is accessed. While previous participants perceived the rural U.S. South as particularly racist, Sofia articulates the South as a multicultural setting in which her whiteness can be problematic. Sofia talks about the difficu lties she faces as a white professional in a southern, multicultural setting. Be low, in response to Angelas concerns, Sofia confirms the particular salience of race in the U.S. South for her experience, and in this case in a state that is heavily influenced by a significant Latino presence: AngelaIve never felt discriminated against. Ive gotta tell you that Im afraid of moving to a different city, I think that I was sheltered as a Hispanic in Miami, in terms of the racial issues going on. ...You become a little self conscious when everything starts becoming whiter and less multicultural, then you start sticking out

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41 SofiaYou see, for me its different because I dont speak Spanish, and Im not part of Hispanic population in Florida, when I go in a state that doesnt ha ve such high Hispanic population um,.. I dont feel as foreign, to an extent, I feel more because I guess more among whites, I feel more, um, more assimilate d than other parts of the U.S.. Maybe its because its the South, maybe it doesnt have anything to do with Hispanic population. (Angela and Sofia, professionals) Angela, a young Hispanic professional who work s at the university and contemporaneously goes to school, relates her reluctance to travel to places which she considers less diverse and more white than Florida. Sofia, on the other ha nd, a young Eastern European professional at the university, initially articulates the difficulties sh e faces in a multiracial South. She attributes some of the troubles she faces as due to her phenotypical attributes because I have darker hair, and I dont have very white skin (Sofia, prof essional ) In a setting such as Miami, where physical attributes such as darker hair and skin tone can easily be asso ciated with a race other than white, Sofia expresses discomfort and highli ghts that her whiteness is called into question. Later in the quote she revises he r response, locating her difficulti es with asserting her white identity as perhaps not only related to the Hispan ic influence in Florida, rather as a particular aspect of race in the U.S. South more generally. You Are White But Not American: Whit eness as Relational and Conditional As we can see above, physical settings can influence how race is experienced and given m eaning to. Interview data also suggests that whiteness is conditional; there are a number of situations in which their racial identity is cast into question, and thei r access to privileges afforded by skin tone modified. A racial identity then, can be simultaneously relational (because it has significance in interactions with others) and conditional (because through th is interaction, their access to privileges afford ed by whiteness is denied).

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42 Accent Below, Jenica and Olivia, two young Eastern Eu ropean graduate students, discuss their identif ication as white in relation to social inte ractions in everyday life. Jenica describes an interaction where her racial id entity was highlighted through social interaction, and how her accent affected the exchange: JenicaThe black population definitely cons ider me white. When I go to buy something I can see that, it happen to me if there is a black person at the counter, and if there is some other blacks after me, it happens to ask them if you are in a hurry just because we buy a lot, and then asking the person after me to go befo re me, because I am white and they are black..First you are white, then you are different. Oliviaafter you start talking. JenicaAfter, they realize you are not American. AndriyYou are white, but not American. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students and Andriy, professional) There are a number of important themes in th is exchange, the first of which is Jenicas qualification that the black population definite ly considers her white. Jenica posits her white racial status as relational she recognizes that her it is depende nt upon others recognizing her as such. Jenica then goes on to describe how whiteness can be perceived as linked to discrimination rather than privilege. As she perceives it in th e exchange she described, Jenicas white racial status did not afford her any pr ivilege or protection from discrimination. In fact, she interprets race as a divisive force (because I am white a nd they are black) that justified the supposedly discriminatory acts by the store cas hiers (letting others jump in fr ont of Jenica at check out). Further, her white racial status is cond itional on how she speaks English.. As Olivia concurs, once you interact with others by speaking English with an accent your status as white is modified, and you suddenly become different. Speaking obviously accented English instantly

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43 marks one as different, and theref ore relinquishes some of the pr ivileges that whiteness would have bestowed. The perception of the speaker cha nges to from white as the main identifier to foreigner, and additional controls are placed on people. The exchange below exemplifies the process: Jenica..I dont like talking because they real ize all of a sudden that Im foreigner, and what Ive noticed, when my husband goes to buy something they are always asking about his ID when hes using his credit card; but its not happening to Americans. Now Im beginning to pay attention, why are you asking if the credit card is signed, I dont know if you have to, but it happens.. Olivia-Yeah it happens. JenicaIt happens .and then in the hospital when I deliver, when my baby was born, they were always asking do you speak English even before speaking to me. You could try first [to see] if I speak ..I wish my Englis h were better and not to see the difference InterviewerYou mean, no accent? JenicaI would like to get rid of my accent. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students) Jenica again articulates the perc eived discrimination she faces b ecause of her accented English, the erasing of privilege through accented language. Still unsure of whethe r shes facing excessive control in stores, Jenica questions whether the practice of checking identification when using a credit card is mandatory for everyone or a specific incident of controlling suspicious people, in this case herself and her husband. Even as she notices that its not happening to Americans, Jenica seems tentative in locati ng discrimination in this experi ence. In this instance, Jenica experiences no privilege due to her racial status as white, rather the more important factor is her accented English giving away her foreigner status. These quotes highlight an important assumption made by the participants: that whiteness in the U.S. is linked to an American identity. The pa rticipants social location of racially white but culturally and legally foreign complicates the homogeneity of a white racial identity. The

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44 participants negotiate being wh ite, but not American as a limina l space, where their skin tone affords them a white identity until it is modified by speech. Dress While accen ted speech is one way in which white racial status is conditional, clothing is yet another. Many participants rela ted that ones style of dress, wh ich is perhaps still inspired by a foreign sense of style, can single them out.. So, as a foreigner, especially from Europe, we felt welcome. Now when, like I said, when I dont wear the clothes that I do for everyday wo rk, when Im just in shorts or .., you know, its funnybut clothes are very significant for everyday encount ers. And if youre in just working clothes or jogging clothes and youre talking to someone, they cannot judgewhether you are educated; then you see th at feeling that You dont belong. Youre immigrant.(Milan, professional) Im very fortunate because, like Milan, Im white, Im blonde... I pretty much look like I fit, I think, most of the time; in terms of my faci al structure and myphysical appearance. My clothes, on the other hand, people say make me sometimes stand out my accent sometimes particularly in the local grocery store in [a local small town], Im definitely exotic in [small town]. (Eileen, professional) Both participants draw on their physical char acteristicswhite ski n, light hair, European extraction, to denote privilege: they felt welc ome and fortunate and fit in within white America based on their white look. However, both Eileen and Milan noted that dress was important in constructing an identity which a llowed them to access the privilege of fitting in. Eileen notes that her style of dress can make her exotic and st and out. Milan notes that when he does not wear professional clothing, his abil ity to access white privilege is diminished. The importance of the intersection of race and class is exemplified by Milans passage: while he may benefit from white privilege in some encounters, the clothes as physical markers of class play a role in how this privilege is accesse d. When not wearing clot hes that identify him as educated (Milan usually wears butto n-down shirts and slacks to work ), he senses a difference in the way people interact with him that denotes a discriminatory attitude. Without his markers of

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45 class, the benefits of white priv ilege are further mitigated by langua ge as a marker of difference, and Milan is subject to discrimination as a foreigner. Skin tone Further s till, constructing and maintaining a white racial identity can be conditional upon ones skin tone. Sofia relates an event in which the particular situationa l context conditioned her white racial status. SofiaThe few times I felt I had been discrimi nated was at [the] Miami airport. Because I dont speak Spanish, and because I have a darker hair, and I dont have very white skin, people would talk to me in Spanish, approach me in Spanish, and I would say I dont speak Spanish, and they would continue to speak Spanish, and make jokes. And I dont understand, and its not like Im making it up! I really dont [speak Spanish] InterviewerWas there an assumption that you could but you wouldnt? SofiaYeah. I felt really ba d, really, because I have dark er skin, and because Im not blonde and blue eyed doesnt mean I speak Spanish! (Sofia, professional) This quote exemplifies the importance of racial identity as situated and relational, which determines the conditional nature of access to wh iteness. The situational context, a multicultural and multilingual Miami airport, defined the parame ters of race. Sofias skin tone, which she describes as not very white places her identif ication by others as white at risk, given the situational context where she may also be classi fied as Hispanic. The relational dimension of race is highlighted when people ascribe a Hispanic rather than white identity to Sofia, and address her in Spanish. This runs contrary to the racial identity she holds for herself, constructed in a different setting. Summary This chapter has explored the ways in which participants talked about the contexts in which they gave m eaning to a racial identity. The major themes emerging from the interviews highlighted that racial identities are situated and relational. Ones white racial identity was also

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46 conditional, often mediated by factors such as accent and dress. This conditionality is a distinguishing factor of white ra cial identity for phenotypically wh ite immigrants, which will be discussed further in th e concluding chapter.

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47 CHAPTER 5 THE POTENTIAL FOR RACIAL LY PROGRESSIVE WHITES White Immigrants and the Potential fo r Racially Progressive Consciousness I lived in a house with a lady who was very Southern, to sa y the le ast, very mildly. And she remarked that every time she saw an interracial couple, Oh I dont understand how they could be together, and th at to me was strikingThis count ry is what helped me a lot .. to become more respectful of different color and different race, because back home we have a huge racist problem with the Gypsies, and coming here taught me a lot about that. People are not different, even though they are ph ysically different, but they are still human beings. Thats actually the main point of contention when I [go back to my home country] and I tell people to their face that they are racist and the way they behave towards Gypsies is like the way Americans behaved towards blacks befo re, during, and after the civil war. And I Im proponent of maybe positive discrimination [at home] and people look at me like Im crazy but I say all those arguments that youre using against th e Gypsies are similar arguments that were used here against the black s.I feel like the pr oblem is not just the Gypsies, its a structural problem, and that the majority population of [my home country] has to look critically on themselves as well. I mean if you have a Gypsy and a white person asking for a job, 99% the white person wi ll get it, even if they re equally qualified. So I think [people] have a lot to learn. One of the best things that happened to me was to come here and learn that. [My wife and I] resent people who judge blacks and dont like blacks and dont like black culture and uh just.. are negative towards them, so what we do now is to go out of our way to show that were different, even on the bus you woul d let a black person to sit next to you, or you sit next to a black person ju st to show everybody else that I dont agree with your racial politics. (Milan, professional) Milans quote is exemplary of what I term a r acially progressive consciousness. He relates how his experiences with race in the US have sh aped his understanding of discrimination and of privilege, both in the US cont ext and as it applies to his hom e country. This consciousness has translated to his daily behavior, where he atte mpts to challenge racia l politics which support inequality. This chapter will explore the prevalence of a racially progressive consciousness among the study participants. I will exam ine instances in which the participants claimed that their experiences with race and discrimination in the US led them to form anti-racist beliefs and, in a

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48 few cases, led to their taking anti-racist action. I w ill first attempt to define a racially progressive consciousness, and then examine whether and how th e participants in the sample have developed one due to their experiences as immigrants in the US. Parameters for Racial Progressiveness As elaborated in the s econd chapter, there can be many dimensions to defining a racially progressive consciousness. For the purposes of th is research, I define it as an awareness of privilege experienced due to ones white racial status, having personal relationships with people of color, a recognition of daily racial discrimination faced larg ely by people of color, and a translation of these recognitions into anti-racist action. I posit that the development of this consciousness is intimately tied to the experience s of discrimination faced by my participants, as well as the recognition that their ability to access a white racial identity (i f not an American one), affords them certain privileges over other immigrants of color. The previous chapter examined the ways in which participants came to understand and give meaning to a white racial identity. Below, I will examine the ways in which participants came to understand discrimination and react against it. Recognizing racism The first aspect of developing a racially pr ogres sive consciousness is the ability to recognize that racism and discrimination exist as an important factor in everyday life. Most participants recognized that racism is a problem, and that it plays a large role in American life. InterviewerDo you feel that racism is still prevalent [in the US]? MilanOh very much so. (Milan, professional) I didnt know there is so much debate here about black and white, for me [in my home country] there were just peopl e. I couldnt see the difference between black and white. But once I arrived here, it was a completely diffe rent story. There are blacks, they are left outside, they dont mix so much with white pe ople, and you hear all the time talking about

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49 them, they are not so educated, they dont ha ve good jobs. And so yeah there is a huge difference. (Jenica, graduate student) AndriyOnly here in the USI got this idea [that there was a] problem between Olenawhite[s] and black[s]. Andriy Before that [coming to the US], I didnt know. OliviaThat is true. Andriy .HERE is the problem! (Andriy, Olena, professionals and Olivia, Jenica graduate students). The participants all recognized that race is a salient issue in everyday life, with many citing their entry into the US as the beginning of th eir awareness of racial tensions. Many also identified the Civil Rights period as a legal turni ng point in race relations, but that social tensions were slow to retreat. Some per ceived the racial history of th e United States to have been extremely discriminatory. In this quote, partiall y repeated from page 39, we see the degree to which some participants understood racial history to influence the present day: JenicaThere were slaves 40 years ago, probably they expect them to be slaves in their mind InterviewerIn whose minds? JenicaIn the Americans mind, especially al l the whites. (Jenica, graduate student). While segregationist laws had extensive and far-reaching negative consequences for people of color, to equate that time period with slavery would be inaccurate. However, the fact that Jenica believes that conditions 40 years ago equate to slavery for people of color speaks to the importance she gives to racism today. Marginalization, privilege, and racial progressiveness The literature refers to groups of people who share experiences of discrim ination and who are marginalized as being more likely to recogn ize cross-racial discrimi nation and become more racially progressive (Bonill a-Silva 2006, Feagin Vera and Batur 2001, Stoddart 2002).

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50 Throughout the interviews, pa rticipants recounted instances in wh ich they perceive themselves to be discriminated against and marginalized, both by individuals and by institutions. The previous chapter also showed that the participants felt they had been discriminated against by various people in different settings. Jenica recounted how she felt discriminated in stores when asked for additional identification when ot her customers were not, Milan fe lt the effects of discrimination in his first college town Sofia, below, shares th at her status as female and immigrant has made her more susceptible to being harassed by the government in regards to her marriage to her American husband. Certainly the government thinks I married [an American] for reasons other than love, and that has been implied very strongly in lett ers Ive received from the government. Thats why we had to hire lawyers, because I didnt change my name and I didnt have children. (Sofia, professional) Other participants also felt they occupied precarious positions due to arbitrary rules regarding other social institutions. For example, two graduate students who are also mothers explain the fear they face vis--vis social welfare institutions: JenicaI dont know the laws, I dont know my rights... And the fact that we have a baby, and Ive seen too many movies where social agents come and they dont like.. [General laughter] Because my husband, just th e other day, he fall asleep and my baby ate some ointment. And we had to call, they took my name and address. What if they file complaint and come here and ta ke the baby. they can do that! OliviaThey can? MYes. At least in the movies. OliviaPeople can steal in hospital. I had problem with mine, she have burn. And people come first to you, and ask question, and M y god it was accident, I didnt do anything! Scary. (Jenica and Olivia, graduate students) These two mothers clearly stat ed a marginalized and precari ous position with respect to government institutions. This precarious position is also articulated among other participants in

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51 the group interview in regards to visas and the s eemingly arbitrary nature by which they can be renewed or revoked. With the student visa I dont even feel im migrant here. Youre nobody, student, temporary; as soon as you finish your study, its not even immigrant status for me. I dont consider myself immigrant because I dont have right to anything here. I dont feel like I have rights here.. I mean, if my education is not so good, they cannot keep me in the program; I am out of here in [so] many hours, I cannot stay unless I stay il legal[ly] (Olivia, graduate student) From the above quotations, we can gather than most participants feel that by virtue of their status as immigrants, they feel a part of a margina lized group as opposed to the dominant part of American society. However, woven along with conversations about marginalization is a recognition that their white skin tone and racial stat us privileged them in certain situations, especially vis--vis immigrants of color. Milan gives an example of how he feels he can respond to instances of personal discrimination base d on his immigrant status. It really doesnt bother me, because I know even [a friend] says Oh, you have typical Eastern European face, if you even wanted to say that you are American I wouldnt believe it I dont have problem with that I feel like I can handle any remarks on my background. Maybe its easier because [Im] white. I think if I were Latino or if I were a person from Africa I would have a different perspective on how this country treats immigrants and foreigners. (Milan professional) It is interesting to note that in his last phrase how this country treats immigrants and foreigners, Milans comment is not only refe rencing his personal ease with dealing with discriminatory remarks, but also a recognition that as a white man, he is experiencing less discriminatory treatment than if he were L atino or a person from Africa. Milan makes an important link between his skin color and the discriminatory experiences he has had, recognizing that were he an immigrant of color, his experiences w ould be different.

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52 Taking action In the opening quote, we learn that Milan has translated his experiences with discrim ination and his recognition of racism in th e US into anti-racist action, both locally and in his home country. Milans experiences with racism in the US allowed him to recognize racism towards a minority group in his own country, and led him to challenge ra cist talk amongst his peers at home. He also translated his experiences into anti-racist actions in his everyday life. There are other examples in which racist behavior was recognized as unacceptable, and the participants took actions to mitigate that behavi or. Jenica relates an instance taking place in a freely provided English class. JenicaI made a mistake when I came here. I we nt to an English class with an old lady, conservative lady, white. And she started talki ng very badly about black people. Although I dont think its legal. You are not allowed to do that. They might put you in prison if you are talking bad about other people. And I didnt understand why is she doing that in English class, because in the class there were yellow people, me, there were also Latino so why are you doing this class for free if you are talking so bad about black people, who are different from you, but we are also different from you InterviewerDo you think she saw you as [white]? JenicaIn a way yeah, because then she star ted talking about Latinos who come to the country pregnant and give birth to American babies. OliviaOh my gosh! Jenicaand I was pregnant at that time! [General laughter] So I left that class, and everywhere I go, I talked about that teacher and look at what she is doing! Why is she doing that? InterviewerSo, did you talk to the administrator? JenicaNo, because the English class was fo r free, although it was organized somehow; but it was on campus, for free. (Jeni ca and Olivia, graduate students) Jenica describes an English language teacher, likely a volunteer, infusing her English lessons with racist talk demeaning people of color. At first Jenica expresses surprise that the teacher would engage in such racist behavior to an audi ence of immigrants, and holds the belief that such

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53 speech is actually legally prohibited. While this ma y not be the case, Jenica recognized that the behavior was wrong and left the class. In addi tion, she shared her expe riences everywhere she went, questioning the legitimacy of such talk in a classroom and warning acquaintances to avoid that teacher. While these actions can be seen as minor, they are nonetheless significa nt for Jenica. As a new immigrant to the US she spoke little Eng lish, and thus leaving the free English class represented a loss of potential la nguage skills. While she did not report the teacher to an administrator, she did engage her personal network of friends a nd acquaintances to warn people about the teacher and lessen the impact she ma y have had by lessening class attendance. Thus, although there are more sweeping actions she could have taken (confronting the teacher, reporting her to the administrators of the Engl ish classes), leaving the class and encouraging people to avoid attending it are stil l anti-racist in their nature. Cautions In analy zing the ways in which the participants have developed some aspects of a racially progressive consciousness, their co nstruction of African Americans as the racial other must be addressed. Although this will be discussed more fully in the concluding chapter, participants did not address personal relationships with people of color, and often essentialized African Americans in their discussions of racism. This is a cause for concern, then, in developing a racially progressive consciousness. Summary In this chapter, I a ttempted to define the parameters of a racially progressive consciousness, proposing that pheno typically white immigrants ar e uniquely poised to recognize the privileges associated w ith being white in the US.

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54 I defined the parameters for a racially progr essive consciousness, drawing from sources (Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Bonilla-Silva 2006, Feagin et al 2001, OBrien 2003, Rassmussen 2001, Stoddart 2002) to determine important measures. These are: an awareness of privilege experienced due to ones white racial status, developing personal relationships with people of color, a recognition of daily racial discrimination faced largely by people of color, and a translation of these recognitions into anti-racist action. In analyzing the participants responses, ma ny clearly recognized that racism was an important factor in everyday lif e in the US. Many also recognized that their skin color afforded them differential treatment, reduc ing their exposure to discrimina tory or racist experiences. Although the participants were quick to recognize the impact of r acial discrimination in the lives of people of color in the US, they were also not likely to have cl ose personal relationships with people of color, complicating thei r articulations racism and discri mination. And finally, some of the respondents took anti-racist act ion, whether in the local contex t or in challenging racism in ones home country. While not all pa rticipants exhibited a racially progressive consciousness, the fact that some did lends importance to studying this phenomenon.

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55 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND FUTURE WORK Summary and Discussion of the Findings This study looked at the experi ences with race of phenotypically white, first-generation imm igrants. Through semi-structured group intervie ws, I examined the meanings participants gave to a white racial identit y, and whether and how the privil ege that is associated with whiteness is accessible to the participants. Summary of Findings Giving meaning to race as situat ed, relational, and conditional There ar e three ways is which participants gave meaning to a white racial identity: as a situated, relational and conditional racial ident ity. In giving meaning to race as a situated identity, physical places affect ed how the participants experi enced a racial identity. The participants never talked about their understandi ng of a racial identity ab stractly; rather, they consistently contextualized their experien ces within a specific geographic place. More importantly, the participants emphasized the regional dimension of their experiences with race in the U.S. South. They ascribed particular meaning to the South as a place with historical significance with regard s to race, hinting at the salien ce of the South as a relatively recently desegregated place, one where racial tensions still linger. Milans hesitation in describing the residents of his S outh Carolina university town as unwelcoming of foreigners has a subtext which hints at racism among the townspe ople. This was confirmed in his description of receiving preferential treatment due to white sk in, linking his racial pr ivilege to the larger perceived context of black-white in equality and racism in many s outhern towns. It is important to note that scholars have critici zed the notion of the South as more racist a place than the U.S.

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56 North (Breines 2006; McKinney 2005). However, with in the theoretical orie ntation of symbolic interactionism, it is also important to consider th at the participants assigned a specific meaning to the South as a place where racism, and thus ra cial identity, is more visible and salient. Racial identity was also simultaneously relational and conditional: participants found racial identity to carry importance in social interact ions with other people, mostly Americans, and related that their status as white is often medi ated by factors such as language and dress. For example, participants may appear white and ma y engage a white racial identity walking down the aisles of a store, but their ab ility to access this racial identity is modified once they speak to a cashier in accented English. As Jenica states, First you are white, then you are different. A white racial identity is simultaneously constructed in relation to other people, and is conditional upon factors that may mark one as foreign. Racial progressiveness This study also attem pted to determine wh ether the participan ts experiences of discrimination as immigrants and their conditiona l access to the white privilege translated into racial progressiveness. I define d a racially progressive cons ciousness as an awareness of privilege experienced due to ones white racial st atus, a recognition of daily racial discrimination faced largely by people of color, and a translation of these recogni tions into anti-racist action. I aimed to explore whether the participants we re uniquely positioned to develop such a consciousness, and found that most particip ants fulfilled the first two parameters. While not all participants translated their heightened awareness of racial injustice into antiracist action, a number exhibited solidarity with people of color. Two participants specifically took anti-racist actions as well. In a society that downplays the importance of racism both at the institutional and personal level (Bonilla-Silva 2006), developing and maintaining a racially

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57 progressive consciousness is an ongoing process that must c ontinue to guard against the dominant frames surrounding race. Discussion of Findings White racial identity: whiteness and nationality Throughout the conversations in the interviews and the analysis of the interview data, participan ts constructed a personal white racial id entity distinct from an American identity. They talked both of their own sense of self as white, and recognized that whiteness in America is conceptually tied to American citizenship. The participants negotiate being white, but not American as a marginal identity, where their phe notypical attributes afford them a white racial identity, from which they can benefit (see Milan s analyses of how his skin tone protected him from discrimination) but that can also be limite d. Accented speech, clothes, facial features that may mark the participants as not American can influence the way in which they access white privilege, and subject them to scrutiny as foreigners. Old World regionalism and racial beliefs The particip ants categorization of the U.S. South as a partic ularly racist place weighed heavily on their perceptions of r ace. All participants, either exp licitly or implicitly, referenced the Souths racial history as heavil y influencing interpersonal dynamics. There must, however, be a recognition that people bring their beliefs with them as they migrate, and that the participants may be tran sferring European notions of regionalism to the U.S. context. The southern regions of most Eu ropean countries are generally constructed as inferior, and on a national level, Southern European countries are often viewed as less civilized, more chaotic, and generally inferior (see Franco Brusatis 1973 film Bread and Chocolate as an example). These regional beliefs, while not e xplicitly racialized, ca rry overtones of group

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58 positions and perceptions. Accounting for the influence of regionalism in the participants socialization in their home countries can partly explain the heavy em phasis they give to the U.S. South in their experiences with race. Racial progressiveness and constructing the other In research ing race, and especi ally whiteness, research must also consider the ways in which even anti-racist action that can have racist undert ones (McKinney 2005, OBrien 2003). For instance, the well-meaning r eactions of those who can access privileged positions could be regarded as further esse ntializing marginalized groups, or en couraging a compassion that may be paternalistic in nature (Essed 1996). Comments such as Milans, repeated from the initial quote in chapter 5, must be analyzed both as well meaning and potentially exploitative. We [my wife and I] resent people who judge blacks and dont lik e blacks and dont like black culture and uh just.. are negative toward s them. So what we do now is to go out of our way to show that were different; even on the bus you would let a black person to sit next to you, or you sit next to a black pers on just to show everybody else that I dont agree with your racial po litics. (Milan, professional) As OBrien (2003) documented, whites involved in anti-racist action fall subject to the pervasiveness of white supremacy in everyday interactions, leading ev en those who recognize racism on a grand scale to reproduc e it in everyday interactions. This research confirms some of the same findings, in that participants who artic ulated anti-racist stances were also likely to objectify and essentialize blacks. Milans comment shows the recognition of his white privilege of not being at the rece iving end of discrimination against African Americans, as well as his efforts to disassociate from raci st behavior by showing a lack of prejudice in choosing who to sit next to on the bus. However, this particular en actment of anti-racist po litics requires African Americans as objects people to sit next to, but not necessarily as people to engage in conversation with or develop personal relationships with. While it is import ant that he directs his anti-racist politics to those whose racial politics he does not agree with, he did not discuss

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59 active and purposeful interaction with communities of color as another avenue in which to combat racism. Placing this comment within th e larger context of the group interviews, Milan is clearly among the participants with the clea rest sense of his white privileg e and who is most critical of racist practices. That one can take such a clear st and against racism and yet still engage in antiracist behavior that can be problematic speak s to the complexity of racism in the U.S.. Additionally, participants also articulated opini ons consistent with B onilla-Silvas (2006) conceptualization of colorblind racism. During the interviews, participants highlighted the dualisms that can be engaged in talking about raci sm and people of color. For example, Jenica talks about how black people dont mix so much with white people, bu t does not address the fact that whites also self-segre gate; she focuses her attention on the presumed self-segregation of people of color. Yeah I got the same impression. Here its a huge problem, they even live in a different part of city, they have different st ores (Jenica, graduate student) While Jenica has previously acknowledged that r acism plays a large role in everyday life, she also ignores the structural dime nsions of racism that may have led to residential segregation. This speaks to the power of dominant frames of racial discourse t oday (Bonilla-Silva 2006), where the emphasis is on people of colors re sponsibility for not assimilating rather than structural racism. Many studies addressing whites development of racially progressive identities stress the importance of close, personal rela tionships with people of color as a crucia l element (Doane and Bonilla-Silva 2003, Feagin, Vera and Batur 2001, McKinney 2005). The participants in this study did not mention any such relationships, and this can be considered an important factor

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60 limiting their development of a raci ally progressive consciousness. However, this may also be due to the small sample, and should be resear ched with larger numbers of participants. Finally, the participants discussions of race a nd racial identity were largely centered on their experiences in relation to black Ameri cans. Other communities of color, such as Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans were rarely mentioned and only in passing references. The one exception to this was the mi xed-race group interview, where the presence of a Hispanic participant led to a more prominent discussion of Hispanics and race. The focus on black-white relations, then, speak s to the dominating influence of the black-white paradigm in U.S. race relations (Omi and Winant 1994, Per ea 1997). That is to say, the focus of much discussion on race both in the academic field and within these interviewscentered on black and white Americans, omitting non-black people of color from the discourse. The language of solidarity Studies on race relations has placed a heavy em phasis on the language used in the conversations, specifically on the link between language and expressing solidarity (Feagin and Sikes 1995). Feagin and Sikes explored the issue in their work on Black middle class Americans. As participants talked of experiences of discrimination, there we re shifts from using the I pronoun to describe personal experiences to th e we pronoun. This shift to the use of we signaled racial solidarity, a sense of toge therness and commonality of experiences, the collective character of the African American experience (Feagin and Sikes 1995:16). In the group interviews I conducted, phenotypi cally white participants used the pronoun We in two ways: to denote the pa rticipant and his or he r spouse, or to evoke a nation of people (back home we have a huge racist problem with the gypsies). There does not seem to be a collective character of the immigrant experience in the US for my participants, neither along racial lines nor immigrant status. Students of color, on the other hand, used we much more

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61 often, both in reference to a nation of people (we Indians) and to their st atus as immigrants in the U.S. This suggests a disparity in the expe riences of race dependent upon a persons racial classification in the U.S. that s hould be investigated further. Sample size Although this has been addressed in the m et hods chapter, I would like to emphasize the importance and validity of small sample pilot stud ies. As a means to generate important themes and discover grounds for future research, pilot studies are efficient and practical means to elicit information. As they do not strive for generali zability, small sample sizes do not affect the validity of the findings. Borrowing from the me dical literature, a syndrome needs only one patient to be identified, its characteristics and pr operties delineated. Any fu rther incidence of the syndrome only speaks to its di stribution within a population. In this sense, this research aims to identif y some of the key concep ts, themes, and factors in phenotypically white immigrants experiences with race and racial progressiveness. Even the relatively small sample can generate important results. As Durkheim stated, you only need one well done experiment to come up with a theory. Future Avenues for Research Regional Differences While this study does not claim to generalize to the entire population, it would be a logical avenue of research to examine the same que stions in different geographical spaces. The participants in the study made constant refere nce to the U.S. South as providing a specific context for race and racial identities, and it ca n be reasonably assumed that perceptions may differ according to different regional settings. I expect that greater differences could be articulated by comparing urban and rural settings especially ones with different levels of immigrant populations.

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62 Comparing White Immigrants and Native-born Whites An i mportant avenue for research would be to research first-generation white immigrants and native-born white Americans, comparing the ways in which they articulate racial identities and whether they articulate racially progressive stances. Following important works that challenge the existence of a monolithic white ex perience, comparing the two groups can address both the differences in whiteness due to the differi ng social locations of the participants, as well as the similarities in experiences based on their ability to assume a white racial identity. While this research has attempted to address some of these questions, a study that included participants from both groups in the interviews would be bette r able to address issues of comparability in experiencing white racial identities. Comparing White Immigrants with Immigrants of Color As noted above in the section on the language of solidarity, ther e seem to be disparities in the ways that immigrants of color and immigrants who are classified as white experience racial discrimination and develop a sense of solidar ity. Studying the differentiation of immigrant experiences with race based on thei r racial classification and the ex tent to which this promotes a sense of solidarity, or in other words, racial progressi veness would be an important development. Conclusion This study contribu tes to the fiel d of race and ethnic studies by addressing an area that is under-researched: contemporary fi rst-generation immigrants expe riences with a white racial identity. While there may be many ways in whic h their experiences parallel white Americans negotiations of a white racial iden tity, these participants also offer distinct contributions to whiteness studies. In examining how participants come to give meaning to and experience a racial identity, whiteness is conceptualized as mo re than just privilege. Participants experiences

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63 of race as situated, relational, and conditional he lped to problematize the conceptualization of whiteness as a static identity (McDermott and Samson 2005). Further, this study attempts to examine whet her experiences with di scrimination can lead to a racially progressive consciousness for im migrant whites. Recognizing ones privileged position is an essential step to wards understanding ones role in perpetuating racism, and a necessary step in order to take anti-racist action. The development of a racially progressive c onsciousness is important in combating racism both in the local and in the global context, for these participants can translate anti-ra cist action to their home countries as well as th eir local communities. In an in creasingly multi-racial Europe, racial discrimination and racism will become an important paradigm through which to analyze inequalities in these changing societies. The participants experi ences with discrimination in the U.S. can translate into recognizing and challe nging racism, as in Milans example at the beginning of chapter 5. Although few participants may intend to return to their home countries, the links they retain to their home countries (through families a nd friends, political structures and such,) can influence discussions of ethnic exclusion and marginalization to in clude discussions of structural and everyday racism. While it is not my intention to transpose the U.S. racial paradigm to other countries, participants have recognized that some elements of racism as they experienced it in the U.S. can apply to their home countries. OBrie n (2003) stresses that anti-racist action must challenge structural racism as well as the everyday rituals that perp etuate white supremacy. Just as Milan countered the racist discour se surrounding Gypsies in his home country by challenging his peers to recognize structural and personal racism, many of the participants have the opportunity to challenge everyda y racism not only in the U.S., but also internationally. As the

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64 world becomes increasingly globalized, and as racist images are perpetuated by the U.S. dominated media on a global scal e (Feagin, et al 2001, Vera and Gordon 2003), anti-racist whites who have experienced racism in the U.S. context can become powerful allies for change.

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65 LIST OF REFERENCES Alba R. 1990. Ethnic Id entity: The Transfo rmation of White America New Haven, CT: Yale University. Press. Allen, Theodore. 1994. The Invention of the White Race Vo lume I: Racial Oppression and Social Control London: Verso. Allen, Theodore. 1997. The Invention of the White Race Volume II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America. London: Verso. Aranda, E. 2003. Global Care Work and Gendered Constraints: The Case of Puerto Rican Transmigrants. Gender and Society 17: 609-626. Berger, R. 2004. Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories New York: Hawthorn Press. Berube A. 2001. How Gay Stays White A nd What Kind of White It Stays. In The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness edited by B. Rasmussen, E. Klinenberg, I. Nexica, and M. Wray. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism : Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Bonilla-Silva, E. 1997. Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation. American Sociological Review 62, 465-480. --------------. 2006 Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Brah, A. 1993. Difference, Diversity, Differentia tion: Processes of Racialisation and Gender. In Racism and migration in Western Europe, edited by J. Wrench. and J. Solomos. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. Breines, W. 2006. The Trouble between Us: An Uneasy Hi story of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. Buck P. 2001. Worked to the Bone: Race, Class, Power, and Privilege in Kentucky New York: Monthly Review Press. Census Bureau. 2004. Census Bureau Projects Trip ling of Hispanic and Asian Populations in 50 Years; Non-Hispanic Whites May Drop to Half of Total Population. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/ releases/archives/population/001720.htm l Cheng, S.J. 2003. Rethinking the Globalization of Do mestic Service: Foreign Domestics, State Control, and the Politics of Identity in Taiwan. Gender and Society 17: 166-186. Collins, P. 2000. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment Second Edition. New York: Routledge.

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66 Collins, P.1986 Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought. Social Problems 93, 6: 14-32. Connell, R.W. 1995. The Social Organization of Masculinity. Masculinities Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. -----------------. 1987. Gender & Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Connell, R.W. and Messerschmidt, J. 2005. Hegem onic Masculinity: Rethi nking the Concept. Gender & Society 19: 829-859. Cooley, C.. 1956. Human Nature and Social Order Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Cuff, E, D. Sharrock, and D. Francis.2003. Perspectives in Sociology. New York: Routledge. Denzin, N.K., and Y. Lincoln. (Eds.). 1998. Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Denton, N. and D. Massey. 1989. Racial Identity Among Caribbean Hispanics: The Effect of Double Minority Status on Residential Segregation. American Sociological Review 545: 790-808. DeVault, M. 1996. Talking Back to Sociology: Distinctive Contributions of Feminist Methodology. Annual Review of Sociology 22, 29-50. Doane, A.W. and E. Bonilla-Silva. 2003. White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism New York: Routledge. Dreby, J. 2006. Honor and Virtue: Mexican Pa renting in the Transnational Context. Gender and Society 20: 32-59. DuBois, W. 2004. Darkwater. New York: Washington Square Press. Essed, P.1996. Diversity: Gender, Color and Culture. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Feagin, J. and M. P. Sikes. 1995. Living with Racism: The Black Middle Class Experience Boston: Beacon Press. Feagin, J. and H. Vera. 2002. Old wine in new bottles: The Reality of Modern Racism. In The New Politics of Race: From Du Bois to the 21st Century edited by M. Durr. Westport CT: Praeger Publishers. Feagin, J., H. Vera and P. Batur. 2001. White Racism: The Basics New York: Routledge. Frankenberg R. 2001. The Mirage of Whiteness. In The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness edited by B. Rasmussen, E. Klinenberg, I. Nexica, and M. Wray. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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71 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Born in Italy and raised in the US since th e age of 10, Georgia Bianchi has always been interested in m igration, and this thesis was based on her que stioning her own experiences as an immigrant to the US. Her specializations in the field of sociology are race and ethnic studies and gender, specializing in the sociol ogy of migration. She received a B.A. in international st udies, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2001. She also received an M.A. in political science, from the University of No rth Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2003.


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