What lies beneath the surface: A qualitative study exploring the experiences and beliefs of White students discussing race
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This study explored the experiences and beliefs of White college students when discussing race and racial issues. A qualitative methodology with a phenomenological approach was used in order to acknowledge the relevance of “lived experiences” when discussing racial issues. To this aim, 13 interviews were conducted with White students from varied demographic backgrounds. This approach was used to capture the subtleties in their understanding; as well as illustrate any conflicts that may occur when comparing students’ self-reported understanding of racial issues, to their actions/stance on racialized issues. The Colaizzi (1978) method was used to guide data analysis. Five themes emerged: Talking about Race (TAR), Understanding Racial Issues, Privilege, Color-Blind Ideology (CBRI), and Allyship; with several subthemes. Using the multicultural competence framework, implications for training and practice within the higher education settings were discussed. Based on these findings, it is recommended that higher education settings incorporate educational opportunities for both students and faculty with regards to increasing their knowledge, skills, and awareness of racial issues; and facilitating discussions on race.