The Impact of Education on Inter-Group Attitudes: A Multiracial Analysis

Geoffrey T. Wodtke, University of Michigan

How does education affect racial attitudes? Past research addressing this question has focused almost exclusively on Whites’ attitudes toward Blacks, neglecting important racial minority populations. This study transcends this narrow focus by analyzing the effect of education on beliefs about racial stereotypes, discrimination and racial preference policies among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality 1992-1994 indicate that there are important racial differences in the relationship between education and inter-group attitudes. Highly educated Whites and Blacks were more likely to reject negative racial stereotypes, but the link between education and beliefs about out-group stereotypes was less consistent among Hispanics and Asians. In addition, education was positively associated with perceptions of discrimination against racial out-groups among Whites, Blacks and Asians but not among Hispanics. Finally, a more advanced education was not associated with greater support for racial preference policies among any group in the study.

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Presented in Session 159: What is 'Race' in Education Research?