Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Anthony Hatch

Second Advisor

Griff Tester

Third Advisor

Rosalind Chou


White supremacist racism is systemic to the structure of society in the United States. White people often minimize, rationalize, deflect, and deny contemporary acts of racism. However, there have been many whites who have actively opposed racism. As new conditions of racial segregation and inequality emerge in the United States, it is increasingly imperative that we consider which factors lead some whites to commit to antiracism. In this research, I examine how a selection of young white adults negotiate their racial and antiracist activist identities in the era of colorblindness. Utilizing feminist qualitative research methods, I explore my sample’s understanding of the factors most influential in raising their race consciousness. Employing in-depth interviewing techniques, I find that early life racial messages and the quality of interracial contacts one maintains throughout their lifetime have the greatest implications for influencing young whites’ involvement with antiracist activism.