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Author Topic: Minority at Majority White Institutions  (Read 2805 times)

t4bound

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Minority at Majority White Institutions
« on: May 03, 2009, 12:53:01 PM »
Are there an underlying anxiety that is associated with attending a predominately white institution with the student and staff majority white?

 ***DISCLAIMER: This is not to be misconstrued, offensive, derogatory, or racist in any way.  If you do reel that this is in any way offensive, derogatory, or racist then you may want to ask yourself why YOU interpret this question in that way.***

It is actually a real concern that some minorities do not either recognize or gets misdiagnosed (whether merely dismissed as a more familiar symptom of general anxiety caused by other random things).  Regardless, those who do acknowledge, yet maybe not a readily explanation for these feelings, this post is for you (and I to an extent).  Do you have any anxiety whatsoever about this? 

zippyandzap

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 01:13:08 PM »
Not about skin color but arguably similar, as a practicing Jew I knew I wouldn't be comfortable at a school that didn't have a decent-sized practicing population.

contrarian

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 01:33:16 PM »
Are there an underlying anxiety that is associated with attending a predominately white institution with the student and staff majority white?

 ***DISCLAIMER: This is not to be misconstrued, offensive, derogatory, or racist in any way.  If you do reel that this is in any way offensive, derogatory, or racist then you may want to ask yourself why YOU interpret this question in that way.***

It is actually a real concern that some minorities do not either recognize or gets misdiagnosed (whether merely dismissed as a more familiar symptom of general anxiety caused by other random things).  Regardless, those who do acknowledge, yet maybe not a readily explanation for these feelings, this post is for you (and I to an extent).  Do you have any anxiety whatsoever about this? 

Are you asking if there is a specific psychological condition that is attributable to this situation?  I would say that this is very common in any situation where there is something that makes you stand out from the majority.  

As a white person, I've found myself myself in a group of all or predominantly minorities and have found the following to be true.  When it's a varied  mix (Blacks, Arabs, Caucasians, Asians, etc.), I may notice I'm the only white but it doesn't bother me.  If it's nearly all the same racial group but myself, I do feel a bit uncomfortable because clearly I am the odd man out.

And yes, depending on the "vibe" I am feeling from them, that discomfort may be in the form of real anxiety.  Not simply because of the racial make-up of the group itself, but because clearly I am the minority in the situation and the bad-mojo I may be perceiving (e.g. a street gang vs. young republicans).

But more importantly, this isn't even a racial thing, as it is about just being different.  As a fat person, I've found myself feeling uncomfortable when I'm around a lot of skinny people.  That may sound like it's insignificant compared to a racial difference, but realize also that growing up, and even today, I've been the subject of scorn ranging from just dirty looks to being physically assaulted (especially as a child) because I was overweight.  To a similar extent, I have had the same feelings and experiences by being the odd-man out when being the lone liberal in a group of conservatives (and vice-versa, I tend to play the contrarian politically), and the lone man in a group of women (especially when they are scorned angry women), and the lone atheist (and quite vocal) in a group of believers.  

In short, you might be surprised that a lot of people feel the same way but for their own personal reasons.  

Ninja1

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 06:35:01 PM »
I'm white, but I've never had a problem being around groups that were all or almost all black/latino/asian.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

mbw

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009, 06:37:51 PM »
I was excited to learn there will be at least three other NDNs in my 1L class.  I don't remember a time I wasn't the only one in my class/program/major.  :-\
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

t4bound

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009, 10:35:53 PM »

Thanks to all of you for your honest and mature responses...

contrarian-

Your post really put it in perspective. 

LawDog3

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 10:54:04 PM »
Are there an underlying anxiety that is associated with attending a predominately white institution with the student and staff majority white?

 ***DISCLAIMER: This is not to be misconstrued, offensive, derogatory, or racist in any way.  If you do reel that this is in any way offensive, derogatory, or racist then you may want to ask yourself why YOU interpret this question in that way.***

It is actually a real concern that some minorities do not either recognize or gets misdiagnosed (whether merely dismissed as a more familiar symptom of general anxiety caused by other random things).  Regardless, those who do acknowledge, yet maybe not a readily explanation for these feelings, this post is for you (and I to an extent).  Do you have any anxiety whatsoever about this? 

Are you asking if there is a specific psychological condition that is attributable to this situation?  I would say that this is very common in any situation where there is something that makes you stand out from the majority.  

As a white person, I've found myself myself in a group of all or predominantly minorities and have found the following to be true.  When it's a varied  mix (Blacks, Arabs, Caucasians, Asians, etc.), I may notice I'm the only white but it doesn't bother me.  If it's nearly all the same racial group but myself, I do feel a bit uncomfortable because clearly I am the odd man out.

And yes, depending on the "vibe" I am feeling from them, that discomfort may be in the form of real anxiety.  Not simply because of the racial make-up of the group itself, but because clearly I am the minority in the situation and the bad-mojo I may be perceiving (e.g. a street gang vs. young republicans).

But more importantly, this isn't even a racial thing, as it is about just being different.  As a fat person, I've found myself feeling uncomfortable when I'm around a lot of skinny people.  That may sound like it's insignificant compared to a racial difference, but realize also that growing up, and even today, I've been the subject of scorn ranging from just dirty looks to being physically assaulted (especially as a child) because I was overweight.  To a similar extent, I have had the same feelings and experiences by being the odd-man out when being the lone liberal in a group of conservatives (and vice-versa, I tend to play the contrarian politically), and the lone man in a group of women (especially when they are scorned angry women), and the lone atheist (and quite vocal) in a group of believers.  

In short, you might be surprised that a lot of people feel the same way but for their own personal reasons.  


I concur on the "fat prejudice", for sure. But those other life choices are just that; if people don't agree with those things, and it makes you an outsider, you need new "friends". It's their problem, not yours. But fat prejudice is something that is seldom discussed, yet very polarizing. And it leaves many beautiful people out in the social cold, b/c, contrary to popular belief, many overweight people don't even like overweight people. 

LawDog3

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 10:56:05 PM »
Not about skin color but arguably similar, as a practicing Jew I knew I wouldn't be comfortable at a school that didn't have a decent-sized practicing population.

Jews are White people. Not quite the same thing.

LawDog3

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 11:03:31 PM »
I'm white, but I've never had a problem being around groups that were all or almost all black/latino/asian.

That's b/c people of color are more accepting. Furthermore, we live in a world where we must interact with non-minorities, whether we like it or not. Many Whites, on the onther hand, attempt to live as though they do not have to effectively deal with people of color, and a lot of them succeed at it. People of color can be "prejudiced", but they cannot be "racist".

Being Racist means having the socioeconomic and political power to exclude someone from crucial aspects of daily survival, such as employment or housing. By and large, people of color have no such power, and, as collectives, certainly lack that power completely on a large scale.

Whites, on the other hand, have the power to deny access to any institution, and do so at-will, despite laws enacted to counteract the structural imbalance.

Ninja1

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Re: Minority at Majority White Institutions
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2009, 11:41:51 PM »
I'm white, but I've never had a problem being around groups that were all or almost all black/latino/asian.

[]bThat's b/c people of color are more accepting.[/b] Furthermore, we live in a world where we must interact with non-minorities, whether we like it or not. Many Whites, on the onther hand, attempt to live as though they do not have to effectively deal with people of color, and a lot of them succeed at it. People of color can be "prejudiced", but they cannot be "racist".

Being Racist means having the socioeconomic and political power to exclude someone from crucial aspects of daily survival, such as employment or housing. By and large, people of color have no such power, and, as collectives, certainly lack that power completely on a large scale.

Whites, on the other hand, have the power to deny access to any institution, and do so at-will, despite laws enacted to counteract the structural imbalance.

Now you're just not even trying to be a poor flame.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.