Interventions to lessen racist prejudice and discrimination among college students

Diane Maluso, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

During a summer orientation program involving 356 entering White students at a northeastern university, some were exposed to intense contact with a high status minority (Black or Hispanic) orientation leader and/or participated in a Cultural Diversity Workshop. The effect of these interventions on racist prejudice and discrimination was studied. Dependent measures obtained 12 weeks after the interventions were: (1) responses to a Photo Choice Task in which participants chose between a Black and a White person for hypothetical social interactions; (2) number of reported personal conversations with members of ethnic minorities during a two week period; and (3) responses to a shortened version of the Modern Racism Scale (MRS). The results indicated that, regardless of workshop participation, non-racist photo choices of men were made by students who had experienced a Black orientation leader but not by students who had experienced a White or Hispanic leader. Non-racist photo choices of women were made by students who had experienced both a Black orientation leader and a Cultural Diversity Workshop. Contact with a Black orientation leader resulted in fewer choices of White women over Black women than did contact with either a White or Hispanic leader. Contact with a Black orientation leader resulted in fewer choices of White men over Black men than did contact with a Hispanic leader. Neither contact nor workshop affected MRS scores or reported number of conversations. Correlations among post-intervention measures indicated that the higher the degree of self-reported prejudice on the MRS, the greater the likelihood of choosing Whites over Blacks on the Photo Choice Task, and the less the likelihood of engaging in conversations with members of ethnic minorities. A new measure of prejudice, the Student Racism Scale, is presented, and the importance of considering gender as a stimulus variable in studies of racism is discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Experimental|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Diane Maluso, "Interventions to lessen racist prejudice and discrimination among college students" (1992). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI9239579.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI9239579

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