chapter  3
21 Pages

The Promise of Diversity in Remedying the Harms of Identity-Related Threats and Racial Isolation

ByAllison S. Elgart, Victoria C. Plaut, Nicole Arlette Hirsch, Eva Jefferson Paterson

Recent social media campaigns by students of color have put a national spotlight on the hostile racial climate and extensive identity-related threats they experience on college campuses. Projects such as “I, Too, Am Harvard” and “Being Black at the University of Michigan” reveal subtle and not-so-subtle racial slights and microaggressions, as well as concerns about small and declining numbers of students of color (Vega, 2014a, 2014b). In the wake of recent affi rmative action bans, students of color on several selective college campuses gave lower evaluations of their school’s respect for their racial group as compared to peer universities ( Kidder, 2012). Students of color experience higher rates of racial bias and a lower sense of belonging on university campuses (e.g., Dovidio, Gaertner, Niemann, & Snider, 2001). Hostile racial climates and identity-related threats infl uence grades and graduation rates (Massey & Probasco, 2014). In addition, reports of racial isolation, anxiety, and confl ict on selective college campuses raise concerns about intergroup relations and the learning and engagement of all students in these environments (Garces & Jayakumar, 2014).