Differences Between Racial-Ethnic Groups in Response to Discriminatory Acts

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Eric Landrum


Previous literature on campus climate research, has followed the trend in which Whites consistently hold more favorable views of their campus than minorities. This type of research may include student’s perceptions of the general campus climate, racial-ethnic climate as well as the academic climate. Despite having its skeptics, campus climate research is overall, a beneficial tool. It can give insight to perceptions that are often hard to talk about. The results from studies such as these can be used to generalize outside campus walls, into larger society such as the workplace. Employers, professors and other community members can take results of studies such as this to make improvements on campus as well as the workplace. My study examined undergraduate college student’s responses to statements regarding discriminatory acts and assessed for racial-ethnic differences in response to these statements. Asian American/Pacific Islander (n= 2), White/Caucasian (n= 85), Black/African American (n= 3), Hispanic/Latino (n= 9), students of other ethnicities (n= 4), and students of more than one ethnicity (n= 6) participated in my study. Contrary to my prediction, no significant differences were found between Whites and minorities in response to discriminatory acts, with one exception. Asian American\Pacific Islander and Black/African American students significantly disagreed more than other student groups in response to ignoring being the target of a racial joke. Many speculations can be made as to why my study did not follow the trend of previous literature. One speculation being that my study did not reflect a fairly equal ratio of students in each ethnic group. There were no Native American participants in my study, as well as a limited number of participants from other ethnic groups. The methodology in which participants were surveyed may have contributed to my findings. Perhaps if the methodology was modified in a future study, significant differences would be revealed. Implications for research use and future focus are provided.

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