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ERIC Number: ED309214
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar-31
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Ethnographic Depiction of a Multiethnic School: A Comparison to Desegregated Settings.
Semons, Maryann
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)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: 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).