Abstract

This study examines the effects of school desegregation on levels of prejudice. Before the study begins, a brief preface examines the author's unique educational history and experiences, focusing on the staus relationships that black and white students have met under, and the effects of these different interactions on his views. Examining the effects of desegregation on levels of prejudice is important because the creation of positive social ties is the beginning step and the basis for the continuing struggle in the fight to eliminated hatred and prejudice. The formation of interracial friendships and the relationship between school racial composition and student's attitudes toward desegregation were studied. These studies showed the significant effects of class climate and racial composition on cross race friendship. In addition, three case studies on specific desegregation programs were researched, paying close attention to the different theories, research designs, and conclusions that they offered. This study offered two theories that explain the effects of a desegregation program: The Contact Theory and The Conflict Theory. Based on this, the hypothesis for this study states that students in desegregated schools will have more contact with other races, however, this contact will not have positive effects on levels of prejudice unless it falls under certain conditions, the most basic condition being equal status contact. A historical overview of the desegregated school that is being studied is offered. The research design follows. It focuses on comparing student attitudes across pre and post test measures to examine if desegregation had any effect on levels of prejudice. The findings indicated inconclusive evidence about the effects of desegregation because of problems that occurred in gathering data, and lack of accurate, measures of student attitudes at the desegregated school. The study concludes that although desegregation may reinforce of even increase levels of prejudice, that it may hold important effects on promoting positive race relations in the future.

Advisor

Godek, Stephen C.

Department

Urban Studies

Publication Date

1993

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1993 Jonathan W. Weidenhamer