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ERIC Number: ED566350
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 245
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3037-6446-2
From a Privileged Perspective: How White Undergraduate Students Make Meaning of Cross-Racial Interaction
Shapses Wertheim, Samantha
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, New York University
This study explored how White undergraduate students make meaning of cross-racial interaction in order to provide essential knowledge for practitioners who seek to create curricular and co-curricular activities designed to promote productive interactions around race. This study is guided by two overarching questions 1) How do White undergraduate students with a set of peers who are of a different race and 2) How are these meaning-making processes affected by the lived personal and societal experiences of the students, particularly with regard to their experiences at New York University? Utilizing Critical Race Theory and Intercultural Maturity as overarching theoretical frameworks, this study employs narrative inquiry and analysis to explore the life experiences of 11 students in their 3rd or 4th at New York University. Several themes pertaining to how White students make meaning of cross-racial interaction were identified, including the use of humor, difficulty communicating, the significance of Whiteness, as well as the nature of positive and negative interactions across race. Personal and societal experiences that contributed to this meaning making process included parental involvement, social and cultural identities, the specific school attended at NYU, and extra-curricular activities. The results suggest that while students possess a variety of meaning making mechanisms that are shaped by their personal and societal experiences with race, these themes manifest in different ways depending upon the life experiences of each student. Furthermore, they illustrate that meaning making is an inherently individual experience, and that students possess a web of meaning making mechanisms that assist them in navigating relationships with racially diverse peers. Finally, the results showcase the value of including White students in conversations pertaining to diversity in higher education, while critically examining their participation and inherent privilege. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)