Title

White From The Start: White Privilege And The Expatriate Experience In Guinea, West Africa

Publication Date

5-18-2007

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Alfredo Varela

Abstract

In the United States, White privilege is something that, for many scholars, activists, and communities, is a very real and discernible component of White majority culture. But when Whites leave their cultures and move to a place where Blacks are the majority, what privileges based on Whiteness, if any, exist? As a White expatriate living in Guinea, West Africa, I have experienced White privilege, and in this paper I seek to further define it. My goal is not only to shed light on both the existence and role of White privilege among expatriates in Guinea, but also to force myself to confront, debate, and analyze my own privilege. I begin the study with a discussion of White privilege from the body of literature that currently exists. The collection of data for the study involves individual and highly personal action research, and I use a grounded theory approach to describe three main categories of White privilege that emerge from the data. Additional analysis includes a discussion of the downsides of being White in Guinea, along with personal realizations of racism. This paper also seeks to explore how White privilege, as defined in the Western context, relates to that which I have identified in Guinea. The key conclusions I draw are that expatriates in Guinea experience White privilege in delineable categories, and that this privilege is openly exhibited, unlike in the American context. This study is both applicable and useful for international development organizations, students of any intercultural discipline, and especially White expatriates who could benefit from an increased awareness of their own privilege.

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology

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