Starting Down the Road

Mark R. Warren

in Fire in the Heart

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199751242
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943326 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Culture and Politics

Starting Down the Road

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This chapter argues that seminal experiences tend to be abrupt events which change white people's racial perspective. Such an experience does not itself lead to commitment, but rather the meaning that white people attribute to this experience matters, and that is a deeply moral issue. People appear to be led toward racial justice activism when they see a contradiction between their community's deeply held values and the reality of racism. According to activists, they experience a moral shock and develop a moral impulse through direct experience, not primarily through reading. The chapter also suggests that colleges are key places for the early development of racial justice commitment. Young white people meet professors and students who can help them interpret seminal experiences and deepen a racial justice perspective.

Keywords: racial perspective; white people; racial justice activism; racism; moral impulse

Chapter.  13657 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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