Despite substantial research on racial attitudes and racial identity development among young white adults, little is known about the development of their conceptions about racism. The present study assessed a five-step, empirically based contextualist model of the development of conceptions about racism in young white adults, adapted from the research of Perry (1970), Kitchener and Fischer (1990), and others. A total of 55 young white adults participating in cultural diversity coursework responded to questionnaires about the nature and causes of racism and responses were classified according to the five-step model. Results indicated that many first-year white college students think about racism in dualistic terms, comparable to those described by Perry (1970) in some first-year students' epistemological concepts. Over a semester, many students showed transitions to higher steps, conceptually integrating more dimensions of the problem. Such developmental transitions may be highly context-specific. Implications for educational interventions are discussed.
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Bidell, T.R., Lee, E.M., Bouchie, N. et al. Developing conceptions of racism among young white adults in the context of cultural diversity coursework. J Adult Dev 1, 185–200 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02260094
- adult development
- cultural diversity
- social context
- cognitive development