Taking Race into Account: Charting Student Attitudes Towards Affirmative Action

Abstract

This paper examines student attitudes towards affirmative action over 4 years of college. Asian American and Latino/a students were more likely than White students to disagree strongly or somewhat with abolishing affirmative action after 4 years of college. A student’s attitude towards the policy as a first-year student, peer group influence, and political orientation were significant predictors of student attitudes of affirmative action during the fourth year of college. The findings suggest that while college plays some role in shaping affirmative action attitudes, its influence is somewhat limited in comparison to the background traits and attitudes that students bring to college.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank M. Kevin Eagan for his helpful feedback. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2008 American Educational Research Association annual conference.

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Correspondence to Julie J. Park.

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Park, J.J. Taking Race into Account: Charting Student Attitudes Towards Affirmative Action. Res High Educ 50, 670–690 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-009-9138-7

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Keywords

  • Affirmative action
  • Race
  • Political attitudes
  • Diversity
  • Students
  • Politics