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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Czopp, Alex

Second Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J.

Third Advisor

Manago, Adriana


Research suggests that during interracial interactions, it is effective for both people to foster commonalities in order to form positive impressions of one another. However, when the topic of race and race-related issues are brought up in a cross-group setting, research indicates that Whites who have a strong desire to appear non-biased and non-prejudiced to others tend to avoid mentioning race. Other research suggests that when interacting with a Black individual, Whites may claim to understand the Black person’s racial experiences (thus attempting to establish similarities) in order to demonstrate that they are non-prejudiced. This study examines how Whites’ concern with being perceived as prejudiced affects how they interact, and are perceived by, a person of color. Participants interacted with a confederate (Black or White) for a student interest survey, and were instructed to report their opinions regarding both race-neutral and racially-based statements. Confederates provided scripted responses demonstrating their opinion on diversity (pro-diversity or anti-diversity). Whites consistently reported pro-diversity attitudes regardless of their interaction partner’s opinion on diversity. Furthermore, Whites reported more pro-diversity opinions when their interaction partner was Black, compared to White. Implications for interpersonal approaches to intergroup relations are discussed.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Race awareness--United States; Whites--United States--Attitudes--Race relations; College students--United States--Attitudes--Race relations; Intercultural communication--United States; Intergroup relations--United States; Racism--United States; Prejudices--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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