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The Shaping of Postcollege Colorblind Orientation Among Whites: Residential Segregation and Campus Diversity Experiences


In this article, Uma M. Jayakumar investigates the cumulative impact of experiences with segregation or racial diversity prior to and during college on colorblind ideological orientation among white adults. An analysis of longitudinal data spanning ten years reveals that, for whites from segregated and diverse childhood neighborhoods, some experiences in college may increase colorblind thinking, while others may facilitate a greater understanding of the racial context of US society. Segregated white environments, or white habitus, before, during, and after college are associated with whites' colorblind ideological orientations, with negative implications for racial justice. Campus racial diversity experiences can play a role in diminishing the influence of white habitus but are not necessarily doing so. In other words, the challenges of addressing colorblind orientation are greater for white students from segregated neighborhoods and high schools who also tend to choose segregated white campus environments and are less likely to engage across race lines while in college. This study speaks to the need for more direct interventions addressing colorblind ideology among white college students. The findings suggest that racial diversity and integration are potentially disruptive but insufficient conditions for unlearning harmful colorblind frames.

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