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ERIC Number: EJ1035004
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0146-3934
Racial Prejudice in College Students: A Cross-Sectional Examination
Gassner, Breanna; McGuigan, William
College Student Journal, v48 n2 p249-256 Sum 2014
Racial prejudice is based upon negative preconceived notions of select racial groups with the assumption that all members of a particular racial group can be categorized with the same negative characteristics. Social categorization allows for quick sorting of individuals into racial groups saturated with a common flavor. Allport's Principle of Least Effort (1954) explains the efficiency of this process: by considering every member of a racial group as endowed with the same traits, it eliminates the need to deal with them as individuals. When combined with the Belief of Essence (1954), the idea that whatever good or ill that resides within a group also resides within each individual member, the need for tedious ethics is eliminated. Colleges and universities are microcosms of society and are therefore a logical place to address racial prejudice and prepare students to function in today's racially diverse society. The current study used a cross-sectional design to test the following hypothesis: Seniors completing requirements for a Baccalaureate degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) will report significantly lower levels of prejudice than freshman beginning their HDFS coursework. Essentially asking the research question, does completing the conventional course requirements for a four-year degree in HDFS reduce prejudice? Data were collected at the end of the Spring 2009 semester using an anonymous pen and paper survey conducted at a small branch campus a major university in the Northeastern United States. The results of the current study show that the completion of a four-year degree in HDFS corresponded with a significant reduction in racial prejudice. It appears that students who complete more courses specifically related to human differences show a greater improvement in racial attitudes than students beginning their studies.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A