Ego Statuses

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Ariana Barranco
Professor Wilson
ENG 101-094
03/30/13
Ego Statuses
What is an ego status? Some may define it as a natural instinct of self-preservation or the “I” or self of any person. According to Janet Helms article “White Attitudes and Racial Harmony,” she describes ego statuses, as ways of organizing racial information from ones environment. The six ego statuses she talks about are contact, disintegration, reintegration, pseudo-independence, immersion/emersion, and autonomy. Another article I read that connects to Helms article is called “What set you from, fool?” by Paul Beatty. Reading both articles I realized that in Beatty’s piece he also goes through some of the ego statuses Helms mentions in her article.

The first ego status from Helms article I notice in Beatty’s article is contact. Contact is a status that is sometimes called “the happy racist,” status of innocence, when the person is not even aware that there are racial issues that they should consider. Beatty says, “I get it, these is the niggers the white folks in Santa Monica thought I was.” This is an example of contact because Beatty knew he was different from white people but he was colorblind to the fact that not every colored person was going to act the way he does. It was all because of where he grew up and the people he surrounded himself with. When he made that statement he was aware of the racial remark he made he just realized the kind of colored person his friends in Santa Monica thought he was.

Another ego status I found in Beatty’s article was the disintegration status. When a person is operating from the disintegration status one becomes aware that there are moral dilemmas in our society. One acknowledges that their race has definite social consequences in the society. Beatty says “I don’t know what a nigger was, only that I shouldn’t be one.” To me I feel as if Beatty wasn’t shore on how to act he just went with what he was familiar with and what other people...
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