Background: Ending systemic racism and other interrelated forms of oppression depends on institutional change, as well as changing individuals’ hearts and minds. The present study examines first the impact of a course focusing on social justice and second the impact of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, a critical stage of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and increasing awareness of racism and classism. Method: Participants were 139 WCU students (87% female identified, 36% BIPOC): 101 were enrolled in 2017-2019, and 38 in 2020. Measures included the White Privileges Attitudes Scale (Pinterits, Poteat, & Spanierman, 2009) in its original form as well as an adapted form to measure attitudes about middle class privilege, and the Coping with Discrimination Scale (Wei, Alvarez, Ku, Russell, & Bonett, 2010). Results and Implications: A repeated measures MANCOVA revealed significant change from pre- to post-course in student ratings for awareness of White privilege, willingness to confront White privilege, willingness to confront middle class privilege, and interest in advocating for education about discrimination. A GLM comparing pre-course scores for students in 2017-2019 versus those in 2020, revealed significant differences for awareness of White privilege, remorse about White privilege, awareness of middle-class privilege, willingness to confront middle class privilege, remorse about middle class privilege, interest in advocating for education about discrimination, interest in resisting discrimination, and detachment from discrimination. If we are interested in changing perspectives about issues of social justice, academic courses can matter, but social conditions and movements may matter more.
Wolfe, B., Tumbiolo, K., Mosley, K., & Miller, S. (2021). Want to change perspectives on social justice? Academic courses and social movements matter. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/psych_stuwork/15