Encountering racism in the ivory towers: a qualitative analysis of Latino student experiences in higher education
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Currently, there is a significant gap in the literature on what Latino students are subjected to at predominately white universities regarding white racism and discrimination. If students of color face racism on university campuses, this could negatively impact their experiences while in college and perhaps the likelihood of their matriculation. This research focuses on whether or not Latino students are being treated differently because of their race, what patterns of discrimination exist for this group, and whether or not regional factors, as well as demographic factors influence these experiences. Feagin’s theory of systemic racism was the guiding framework for this study. According to this perspective, white racism permeates various levels of our society and is a foundational aspect of our country, both historically and contemporarily. Individual actors operate in the context of a system of racism, which occurs at the individual, institutional, and societal levels all at once. This dynamic informs this research. In order to get at the lived experiences of Latino students, qualitative interview methodology was used. Approximately 28 students on three campuses participated in face-to-face, in-depth interviews. Overwhelmingly, students faced various types of discrimination and racism both on and off-campus. This study contributes to the race and education literature by providing an in-depth analysis of how mistreatment based on race plays out for these students on both the individual and institutional level. It also suggests that white racism is still an issue for students of color and that the system of racism can have an impact on their educational experiences. Suggestions are made about how the institution of education could change in order to better suit the needs of its increasingly diverse student population.
Parks, Kathrin Ann (2007). Encountering racism in the ivory towers: a qualitative analysis of Latino student experiences in higher education. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from