ERIC Number: ED309214
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar-31
Reference Count: N/A
Ethnographic Depiction of a Multiethnic School: A Comparison to Desegregated Settings.
This report compares the findings of a recent ethnographic study of a multiethnic urban high school to some of the highlights of a series of ten-year-old ethnographic studies on court-ordered desegregated school settings. The study of the multiethnic urban school employed an ethnographic design whereby a participant-observer interviewed students over the course of an academic year in a high school where no one ethnic group predominated over the course of an academic year. Findings were compared to desegregated schools described in "Desegregated Schools: An Intimate Portrait Based on Five Ethnographic Studies," edited by Murray L. Wax. The following areas are discussed: (1) a school's acquisition of a spoiled identity, the result of a shift from white majority in a school to non-white majority; (2) the colorblind perspective, where the issue of racial differences was never raised by either teachers or students; (3) the natural progression assumption, which caused schools to expect that positive intergroup relations would develop without administrative interventions; (4) the modern paradox, wherein students may dislike contact with other ethnic groups but recognize the social necessity to learn to get along; and (5) the development of subgroups that cross racial and ethnic boundaries. Summary findings include the following: (1) the spoiled identity phenomenon should be expanded to include social class as well as racial composition in identifying the forces that collectively change the reputation of a school; (2) both the colorblind perspective and the natural progression asumption must be reexamined in the light of the more recent study; and (3) the more recent study found a more pragmatic attitude toward intergroup toleration as well as a desire to avoid ethnic stereotyping. Brief personal narratives and two tables of statistical data are included. A list of 15 references is appended. (FMW)
Descriptors: Cultural Awareness, Desegregation Effects, Educational Environment, Ethnic Stereotypes, Ethnic Studies, Ethnography, High Schools, Minority Group Children, Multicultural Education, Personal Narratives, School Desegregation, Secondary School Students, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Urban Schools
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, March 31, 1989).