White guilt

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White guilt is the concept that white people who support policies to further racial equality are plagued by shame for crimes committed by whites in the past. In psychology it is an subset of "collective guilt".

The term is popular in the American right and is used to undermine white liberal support for the improvement of the status of non-whites.

The advancement of white guilt is a consequence of racist ideology. Since many people deny that racism exists any longer, any attempts to address racism must be the result of white people feeling guilty, rather than combating the effects of institutional and historical racism.


White guilt has been correlated with more positive attitudes towards black people,[1] support for affirmative action[1] and are more likely to attend protests.[1] Collective guilt encourages people to fix problems.[1] However white guilt can decrease the mental well-being of white people who experience white guilt.[2] The negative effects of white guilt might be alleviated with self affirmation[3] which also has the benefit of further increasing support for programs that help black people. Without self affirmation, support may be lower than without white guilt.

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