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16 Mar Online Discrimination, Black Students’ Academic Experiences, and the Role of White Bystanders



Noelle Hurd of the University of Virginia talks about how the primary driver of the Black-White college-completion gap may be the discriminatory experiences Black students face at predominantly White institutions (McCabe, 2009). Relative to other racial/ethnic groups, Black students report the lowest satisfaction with campus racial climate; moreover, perceptions of negative racial climate indirectly influence students’ persistence in college and degree completion (Museus et al., 2008). Notably, limited research to date has examined the role of online discrimination in influencing students’ perceptions of campus racial climate even though online social spaces may be the most salient and damaging venues for acts of discrimination among college students (Tynes et al., 2013). Moreover, the limited research that has been conducted largely has not explored White students as actors and bystanders who are implicated in these online interactions. Thus, the current study was undertaken to 1) document the nature and frequency of racially-discriminatory comments posted on specific social media platforms, 2) better understand how racist posts affect Black students’ perceptions of institutional racial climate, sense of belonging at their institution, and academic performance, 3) better understand how White students experience racist posts, and 4) identify factors that may prompt White students to confront racist posts with the goal of developing a bystander intervention for White students to confront other White students who are engaging in anti-Black online discrimination. (Dec. 2, 2019)

The James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference supports research, teaching, and public dialogue that examine race and intersecting dimensions of human difference including but not limited to class, gender, religion, and sexuality.

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