The Power of Stories to Transform and Guide White People Toward an Anti-Racist Activism


  • Drick F Boyd Urban Studies Program - Eastern University


Anti-Racism, White Allies, Storytelling, Activism


In her college courses on the psychology of racism, Tatum (1997) noted that when confronted with the reality of racism in U.S. history past and present, White students were often overwhelmed by a strong experience of guilt and a deep sense of powerlessness. Tatum found it helpful to provide her White students with role models of White anti-racist allies and give them sense of hope that they could contribute to positive change in their lives and in society at large. People have used stories to define personhood, and moral/spiritual values, and to raise awareness and facilitate efforts toward social change (Smith, 2007). For Whites seeking to develop an anti-racist identity and feel empowered to challenge the current white supremacist, hegemonic structures in U.S. society, stories have been helpful in providing guides and role models in anti-racist work (Neile, 2009). In this article the author shares how he has used stories of white allies to help White folks gain a deeper sense of their role in the struggle personal and institutional racism.

Author Biography

Drick F Boyd, Urban Studies Program - Eastern University

Professor, Urban Studies


Neile, Caron Schnur (2009). Storytelling and Social Change: Introduction to the Special Issue. Storytelling, Self, Society, 5 (2009), 69-71.

Smith, Colin Bridges (2007)Telling stories: Past and present heroes. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad XIV (March 2007), 29-40.

Tatum, B. (1997). Why are the all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria: And other conversations about race. New York: Basic Books.