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Faculty Mentor

Meredith Redlin

Abstract

Past research has shown white privilege, or the tendency of a certain group of people to receive increased opportunities and access to the benefits of society, to be commonly experienced by people identifying themselves as “white” (McIntosh, 1989). In this study, we explored the relationship between the race of participants and their reported experience of white privilege. The present study examined if this concept is applicable and holds true in current society among Midwestern undergraduate students and the general public in a Midwestern state. A total of 329 participants (46 undergraduate students and 283 from the general public) in a nonrandom sample answered a modified version of Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege Survey (1988) to measure their experience of white privilege. The results revealed that whites experienced the highest degree of white privilege among the general public’s responses, the undergraduate students’ responses, and my own personal responses. However, the general public reported a lesser perception of white privilege (M=1.8601) overall compared to the undergraduate classes (fall: M=1.6850, spring: M=1.7461) and my own responses (M=1.1975). The results supported my hypothesis that white privilege is a factor in the general public in the state and in the fall undergraduate class of which I was a student. I also predicted that females would report less white privilege experience compared to males, which was confirmed. Identifying the occurrence of white privilege serves an important purpose of highlighting its presence and potential negative effects to those who are unaware of its influence.

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