Date of Award
Master of Science
Nathaniel G. Wade
One effective strategy for combatting racism and promoting understanding across racial lines is group dialogue (e.g., Nagda, 2006). Previous research of racial dialogues has used a self-selecting participant pool of individuals who are motivated to participate in racial dialogues (e.g., Gurin, Nagda & Zuniga, 2013). Research up to this point has not investigated the portion of the population who do not willingly participate in racial dialogues. Previous research suggests that European-Americans may be a portion of the population especially avoidant of racial dialogues (e.g., Sue, 2013). Understanding the reasons European-Americans are avoidant of racial dialogues is an important prerequisite to creating interventions to increase participation. In the current study, I examined factors that affect European-American participants’ interest and willingness to participate in a racial dialogue. The specific factors are: facilitator structuring of the dialogue with ground rules (structured condition) vs. a facilitator who does no structuring beyond introducing the conversation topic (not-structured condition), as well as the effect of being in an inter-group dialogue (mixed race group) vs. an intra-group dialogue (all-European-American group). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions of a racial dialogue vignette varying across the two variables (structured vs. not-structured; inter-group vs. intra-group).
The main findings from this study include a significant interaction between the racial make-up of the dialogue group and the structure of the group on participants’ willingness to share their honest thoughts. It was found that participants were more willing to share their thoughts in structured, mixed-race groups than structured all- European-American groups or not-structured mixed-race groups. I also found that the structure of the group had a significant effect on participants’ reported interest in participating in a similar group on campus.
Tittler, Meredith, "How to engage European-American participants in racial dialogue: The role of dialogue structure and mixed race groups" (2017). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15629.