In this symposium, we present findings from a cross-sectional survey conducted among California MSW students (n= 647) designed to build knowledge on cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to racial issues that students experience. These barriers can occur in the context of the educational, field, or other settings (interpersonal); and these barriers are different for White students (i.e., guilt, and shame around whiteness and privilege) and for students of color (i.e., fears of discrimination and stereotype threat, and pressure to fit in to a dominant white culture). Moreover, these barriers might be different across student of color sub-groups.
The first paper will present the main findings from the study. This will include the overarching questions, the method of study, sampling procedures, measures, descriptive statistics, and associations between measures,. For White students, we find that level of agreement with colorblind ideology relates to willingness to engage in action against racism. For the student of color groups, we find an array of associations between experiences of discrimination, stereotype threat, and pressure to conform to dominant culture. From these findings, we begin to see patterns that lend themselves to educational interventions.
The next two papers dig deeper into the subgroups. In the second paper, the study team will present more detailed findings on the white subsample (n = 135). Using multi-level modeling, the paper examines the relationships between colorblind ideology, willingness to take action against racism, and affective responses of white students such as fear, guilt, empathy, and shame. The application of advanced statistical analysis is able to locate key facilitators and barriers to White students engaging in anti-racist practice. In the third paper, the study team will present more detailed findings on the student of color subsamples. More specifically, the team will present measures of association for students of color as a whole and the racial subgroups of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Multicultural students. This analysis uses tests of association to drill deeper our understanding of the relationships between personal experiences of discrimination, stereotype threat, pressure to conform to dominant culture, and colorblind-ideology. These findings point to differences in experiences and points of intervention for racial subgroups.
In sum, although the field has progressed in developing theory around anti-racist practice and pedagogy (Abrams & Moio, 2009), little is known about students' cognitive and affective responses to these discussions. This symposium will extend the knowledge base on racial justice and equity in MSW education and in doing so, will lead to a rich discussion of targeted interventions to enhance anti-racist praxis.