Identifier

etd-08172011-133813

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Most of the literature on social inequality reports that traditional old-fashioned, overt racism has been transformed into a modern symbolic form of covert racism in contemporary American society. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva asserts that “color-blind racism” is the dominant form of racism that persists in the post-Civil Rights period in the USA. A large body of research argues that education may not make too much of a difference in individuals’ racial attitudes. Studies also show that despite the fact that education is a crucial social institution, it cannot make the ills of intolerance and negative racial perceptions cease to exist. Given the fact of the subtle, complex role of higher levels of educational qualification, this thesis contends that Whites’ higher levels of educational attainment do not necessarily ensure decreases in negative racial perceptions/attitudes toward minorities. Also, it is hypothesized that parents’ higher levels of educational attainment do not have any positive effect on decreasing negative racial perceptions/attitudes toward minorities. The present study produces the following findings: 1) there is a negative association between Whites’ educational attainment and their perceptions about the differences between them and African Americans. Specifically, education is negatively associated with beliefs that African American-White differences are due most African-Americans’ having less in-born ability to learn or lacking the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty. However, interestingly, the association between education and Whites’ perceptions about the differences between them and minorities being due to discrimination remain non-significant in this analysis. 2) Parents’ educational attainment is negatively associated with Whites’ perceptions of the differences between Whites and African Americans being due to discrimination. 3) This study does not report any significant relationship of the interaction term between Whites’ educational attainment and African American interviewer. Interestingly, the existing evidence does not provide a clear pattern of support for the hypothesis that Whites’ educational qualification and racial perceptions/attitudes are not inversely related to each other in the American social structure.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dumais, Susan A.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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