Color-blind Racial Attitudes in Nursing Students and Faculty
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Color-blind Racial Attitudes in Nursing Students and Faculty


Racial color-blindness is a meritocratic ahistorical false belief surrounding the denial, minimization, and distortion of the existence of racism that has detrimental effects on health. Critical race theory effectively centered race for this analysis. Faculty of all races except African American/Black had higher racial color-blindness than students on all 3 of the following sub-concepts of the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale: Unawareness of Racial Privilege, Institutional Discrimination, and Blatant Racial Issues. These are all disadvantages to student success and show that nursing faculty may not be optimally poised to speak on the social determinants of health. Findings also showed that Latina/o/Hispanic students and students of “All Other Races” were less aware of racial privilege than White and Black/African American students. Students with lower GPAs were less aware of racial privilege and those with higher GPAs were more racially color-blind on the sub-concept of Institutional Discrimination. The sample for this study, comprised of nursing students and nursing faculty in a selection of California Community Colleges across Southern California was much more diverse than those in other similar studies where the sample was comprised predominantly of White people. A cross sectional within-subjects descriptive research design was used. Participants completed the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale. While the Everyday Discrimination Scale was completed to control for experiences of discrimination in their level of racial color-blindness, it did not show a statistically significant relationship. Of the faculty in the sample, 52% were non White compared to the national average of 15.9% non-White for nursing faculty. The findings related to first language and language spoken at home are a strong indicator of the high diversity of the sample. English was the first language for 58% of the students and 86% of the faculty. English was the language spoken at home for 73% of the students and 91% of the faculty, while 67% of students and 65% of faculty were born in the United States. The year 2020 had unique historical events surrounding the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racism. The heightened sensitivity to racism and police brutality as a result of the murder of George Floyd surely had some influence on the data collected for this study. The results support interventions related to raising awareness about color-blind racial attitudes.

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