Prejudice and Discrimination in College

Everyone at some point has seen a significant change that social media has done in its own role to display prejudice and discrimination. I have witnessed it myself through social ports and daily news. The overflowing negativity of news in which we may not want to hear can trigger a feeling of “How can we stop this?”, or perhaps what we can we contribute to change the world around us. The fact is that prejudice and discrimination aren’t only a visual effect, but it is also a physical effect that can take place in our work or school environment. I decided to focus this research on a specific place, and this place is college.

Whether it was during the senior year of your high school career or over the summer, students have always encountered school admission essay questions of diversity. Diversity is more than one group that get to share their culture, knowledge, experience, and beliefs. Diversity is an on-going topic that is discussed through different panels and departments across a college campus. The reason why this happens is that having an environment of different people with unique backgrounds helps establish a message of not feeling superior to any other individual, which contradicts the stereotypes we might have for others. Matter fact, everyone has a chance of having a positive attitude towards themselves which can overcome stereotypes that they have been told or embedded in for years.

An interesting research study I came across that talks about reducing prejudice and discrimination in a college campus is “Reducing Prejudice on Campus: The Role of Intergroup Contact in Diversity Education.” by Cynthia Berryman-Fink and the College Student Journal. Author Cynthia Fink started her study by gathering 284 students from three midwestern colleges to begin her journey about the study of prejudice. Within these 284 students, ninety-four percent were between ages 25 to 34 and ninety-eight were heterosexual. The number of participants was split between the mass majority being Caucasian and the less majority being minorities. In this research, she was determined to gather information of general and specific prejudice to determine the mutual information from the five factors of Amir she used. A factor she had to think clearly on was if college students within those groups communicated before. This factor plays a role because she could study the prejudice based on her techniques, but it would be another variable if there is prejudice already towards an individual.

The hypothesis in this research study plans to test five different contact factors on college students’ prejudice based on Allport’s pioneering theoretical work who believed that intergroup contact has much to do with prejudice. The intergroup contact that also clarifies her hypothesis is to analyze if a less prejudice approach is determined by the person being different or similar. The measure in this research was done using a 1992 model of general questions from Quaix, Cox and Schehr’s, including nature questions from Amir’s five factors of contact. According to the data analysis, it was confirmed that maintaining a diverse student body on a college campus does not decrease the chances of prejudice. Instead, it proved that Amir’s five factors of intergroup contact do have a relationship reducing generalized prejudice and human orientation prejudice among college students. On the table we are given to observe, we can which factor is high or low depending on the contacts. This table is credible because each number is near the correlation of 0.01.

Because of the study, the author implemented strategies for a college based on the diversity. These strategies are to have faculty and staff give assignments of group work to different social backgrounds and races. This way, students can be eligible to share different perspectives and views about a course. This factor would lead students to feel that they belong in their college campus because they have a voice that can be represented in clubs and organizations that are diverse. The author also stated that campus housing staff should look for preferences that are similar so they can partner a student with another student from a different ethnicity. These strategies can help improve and test the social factors to come up with better solutions to reduce prejudice in big social environments like college. Ms. Cynthia’s strategies help present that Amir’s five contact factors are a way prejudice can be reduced, but she is extending the search to see other ways this can be done.

References:

Berryman-Fink, C. (2006). REDUCING PREJUDICE ON CAMPUS: THE ROLE OF INTERGROUP CONTACT IN DIVERSITY EDUCATION. College Student Journal, 40(3), 511-516.

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