A Race is A Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in Your Life, by J. E. Helms
Helms, J.E. (2008) A race in a nice thing to have: A guide to being a white person or understanding the white persons in your life (2nd ed.). Hanover, MA: Microtraining Associates.
Chapter
Important Points
1
White people must acknowledge their race and the role their race plays in their lives.
2
Race and social class are not the same.
3
Color-blind is not the goal – “color-blind” people are more likely to engage in discrimination.
4
Talk about and understand the positive connotations of the word white and negative connotations of the word black in our culture. Be conscious of how these words mirror society’s views on race.
5
All white people in the United States have privilege. In order to be comfortable being white we must: (1) make a decision to abandon racism; (2) observe how racism is maintained in our culture; (3) learn the difference between expressions of racism and expressions of white culture; and (4) discover what’s positive about being white.
6
Racism can be individual, cultural, or institutional and overt or covert. A major cost of maintaining racism is the schism that develops because it takes domination to maintain a racist society and people don’t like to think of themselves as dominating. In order for a white person to develop a healthy self-concept he/she must make a conscious choice to abandon racism. Recognizing aversive racism (subtle, indirect acts of racism based on unconscious beliefs) is one key aspect of this.
7
Presents model of white racial identity development (see below).
8-13
Presents each schema of white racial identity development (see below).
14
Encourages readers to view events in everyday life by recognizing the schema in which others are operating.

Helm’s model of white racial identity development:
Stage / Schema
Description
Contact
innocence, ignorance, or neutrality about racial issues characterized by denial or color-blindness
Disintegration
confusion through recognizing benefits of being white and not wanting to lose them, but recognizing that keeping those benefits requires treating others immorally
Reintegration
The above quandary causes the person to blame the victims of racism. A white person could stay in this stage indefinitely, or, alternatively, could move straight from disintegration to pseudo-independence.
Pseudo-independence
recognition that white is not superior or perfect but unable to replace belief with anything else, resulting in intellectualization of the problem or denial of responsibility
Immersion/Emersion
active exploration of racism and white culture through active confrontation of racism and active, purposeful involvement in cross-racial experiences
Autonomy
feels safe and secure being white and recognizes its meaning personally and in society