Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Interracial Roommates Can Reduce Prejudice

This article discusses the effect of interracial roommates on one's prejudice levels. Studies present different pieces of information and research varies from university to university. For instance, in universities where housing is on high demand, the general consensus is that if one's roommate is of a different race, especially between white and black individuals, levels of racial prejudice decreases. There are certain factors that contribute to this decrease. For one, the roommates must continue to live together for at least 10 weeks, even if complications arise. Because the individuals are forced to live with each other, they overcome initial prejudicial views and create development new perspective based on each other's character. 

A study conducted in Indiana University claims that interracial pairings have an effect on one's academic behavior as well, but only towards high-scoring black students. These students, when paired with a white roommate, are recorded to work harder in school therefore earning higher marks than their roommate. The same result does not seem to be common for white students or for low-scoring black students. The study infers that high-scoring black individuals are pushed to adjust to a predominately white university. 

Interestingly, a study of students at Duke University states that white students, who typically enter freshman year with mostly only white friends, are more likely to create diverse friendships while in college. On the other hand, black students, who typically enter freshman year with a more racially diverse set of friends, end their cross-cultural friendships in their first year. According to this article, minority students tend to group themselves together, forming a cluster. Therefore it is common to see black students hanging out with other black students. It is their own little community within a mostly white university. 

Therefore, it proves to be beneficial for white students to be placed in an interracial rooming situation, as it exposes them to an individual who most likely would become a part of a cluster later on. Therefore, it allows white students to diversify their point of views as well as their friendships. Having an interracial roommate is also beneficial for black students, but only those who already have high marks, because having a white roommate pushes them to do better in school in order to attempt to adjust to the university society. Other than this, black students continue to form communal clusters and the diversity of their friendships tend to decrease after their first year in college. Therefore it can be said that on a larger scale, they do not benefit as much from these living situations. 

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