Date of Award

4-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Mark P. Orbe

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Machiorlatti

Third Advisor

Dr. Evelyn B. Winfield

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This thesis presents an autoethnographical interrogation of White privilege and socialization into racism in U.S. American society. It explores the intersections of whiteness, gender, and class by combining whiteness studies with the concept of effortless perfection, which relates to the idea that White women often strive for a continual notion of perfection based upon U.S. White American societal standards of feminine ideals. Through the lens of cultural contracts theory it is possible to see how I interrogate whiteness through established contracts, or inherited worldviews related to whiteness, gender, and class.

This autoethnography is based upon my diverse experiences, including teaching interpersonal communication classes at the university level, conducting research, contributing to a Youth Media Project with African American youth, participating in an anti-racism training, and general reflections upon everyday life in a Midwest mediumsized city.

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