Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Claire M. Rice

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Toran Hansen


antipathy, eugenics, peace, racial reconciliation, racism, restorative justice


Since the election of the first African American president in 2008, race relations have deteriorated in the United States. In May 2017, the emergence of the “alt-right” movement advocating for white nationalism caused further polarization between the races. This transcendental phenomenological research examined how white adult males’ exposure to racist ideologies influenced their perceptions towards African Americans, and how they emancipated from environments that promoted racist tenets. The study was guided by three research questions: How have white males been impacted by their exposure to racial antipathy and discrimination? What events or circumstances have white males experienced that led them to denouncing negative racial stereotypes and/or participation with hate groups? And, what efforts have they made to reconcile with individuals or groups they have harmed in the past? The literature review revealed racial conflict is a social phenomenon evolving from historical narratives posited by fear, social class, and white superiority. By employing qualitative data analysis, interviewing eight participants, and applying the theoretical lenses of critical race theory, social Darwinism, hate theory, and regenerative justice, the primary essence of the phenomenon acknowledged individuals are mentally and emotionally affected by negative historical narratives about racism. Six major themes evolved: 1) Familial Influences, 2) Southern White Experience, 3) Education and Race Relations, 4) Spiritual Convictions, 5) Immersion into the African American Experience, and 6) Physical and Mental Emancipation. The findings in this study contribute to the field of conflict resolution by advocating for advanced exploration into socio-psychology, racial reconciliation, and restorative justice.