Two sets of approximately 80 graduate students in counselor education were introduced to curriculum derived from biographical research on six historical white Euro-Americans as well as interviews from two contemporary white Euro-Americans. All eight of these individuals were identified for their engagement in social justice activism on behalf of people of color in the United States. Common themes emanating from the lives of these identified individuals included: 1) Early exposure to racist behavior and attitudes, 2) Development of meaningful relationships with people of color that served to counter racist beliefs of other whites, 3) Active involvement in deconstructing racism. 4) Paying a price for their activism from interpersonal confrontations to loss of life, 5) Possession of a spiritually based identity. After introducing the initial data to two sets of 80 graduate students and documenting positive shifts in cross racial perceptions, the curriculum was expanded into a publication entitled “What is the Color of Your Heart?” This manuscript provides samples of qualitative data derived from graduate student journals who read the book. While this is only a limited and small subset of data the implications point to: 1) Positive shifts in identity development of white Euro-Americans, as well as 2) Positive perceptual shifts in the way students of color perceive Euro-Americans. The foundation for fostering positive communication about racism is of value for educators teaching courses in history, education, sociology, ethnic studies, or diversity awareness.
|Keywords:||Positive Identity Development, Racial Bridge Building|
Professor, College of Education, California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, California, USA