Jennifer: A Racial Vignette Essay

1348 words - 5 pages

Jennifer is a Caucasian American female who is moving away from her friends and family to attend college. Leaving one’s friends and family is a situation that many may struggle with. There were certain aspects of Jennifer’s life that could eventually impede her from fully adapting to her new college environment. The most significant aspect is the fact that Jennifer has not been away from home a lot with the exception of two vacations. Though vacationing can be a good way to become more cultured, she has never been away from her family, or far from her home town. Jennifer is from Winslow, Maine (usa.com). The city of Winslow is a predominantly Caucasian American area, and the areas she has visited on vacations are not far from there and have similar demographics. Jennifer also went to a smaller high school so she would have to get use to the large and diverse campus population. Jennifer’s roommate could have helped her make a smoother transition because she is familiar with larger peer groups due to her high school population. Jennifer also states that she is not as outgoing as should would like to be so meeting new friends will be difficult for her. Jennifer did not join any groups on campus right away so she was not able to make friends as fast as Kerri, which caused her to spend a lot of time alone.
Jennifer grew up in the New England area and did not experience life outside of New England very often; she had not experienced many cultures other than her own. Since Jennifer has had limited experience with other cultures, she has not had to deal with her racial identity development because she had only been exposed to her race. Jennifer seemed open minded at first because even though Kerri was African-American, they became friends and they hung out often. In the racial process Jennifer was at the Contact stage, which is early on in the White Racial Identity Process. Jennifer has not had the opportunity to be around other cultures, so her natural reaction to other cultures, behaviors was to speak badly of the observed behavior and to stereotype the behavior. Jennifer mentioned that she does not understand why all the black people have to hang out together all the time. Instead of making it a situation where she separates herself from them, she could have interacted with them and made judgments based on experience instead of on assumptions. Since Jennifer has not had many experiences dealing with racial differences she does not understand the norms of different cultures and she is oblivious to subtle racist comments.
From the information given in Jennifer’s case, one could conclude that she has an egocentric view on the world. Jennifer taking on an egocentric view is evident when she mentions that Kerri’s things were all over “her” room. Though Kerri and Jennifer were roommates and share the room, Jennifer referred to the room as her own. Another situation in which Jennifer showed her egocentrism occurred when she had a...

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