In this section of the essay, I had to find a couple of published, peer-reviewed articles/studies that related to the topic, one to my specific group, and one to diversity generally.
Part 2: Article Relations
After a search, I discovered two articles related to the topics of diversity on a college campus which I found to be very helpful in my continued understanding. The first is a meta-analysis of several other peer-reviewed documents which discusses the quantifiable cognitive effects of diverse interactions on a campus both through required diversity courses and the byproduct social contact between students. The second goes into depth through interviews discussing the challenges faced by Native American students, both on campus and back home.
The Meta-Analysis by Dr. Nicholas Bowman shows systematically the effects on cognitive development rather than reductions in racial prejudice or bias, and what this implies as far as further research is concerned. He makes a good case “that several types of diversity experiences—interpersonal interactions with racial and nonracial diversity, diversity coursework, and diversity workshops—are positively related to cognitive development.” Bowman links racial diversity more closely with cognitive development than other kinds of diversity, but he did find that such forced interactions only helped marginally. It was actually “interpersonal interactions” which were the main factor in the increase in cognitive, reasoning, and problem-solving skills, going to show that putting people in the same place only goes so far – they have to be able to interact and connect in order for the real benefits to be had. I found it interesting to view actual data in support of affirmative action like programs, rather than hearing it talked about without basis for analytical reasoning. I think this is one thing lacking in many discussions about race: there is something to be gained by all parties involved which is physically measurable and benefits generally, not just in a social or civil context.
The article about Native American students’ abilities to perform in the higher education system by Dr. Aaron Jackson, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology and Special Education at Brigham Young University, et al., showed a number First, that racism experienced by the students appeared as a topic in discussion only after a level of trust was established with the interviewees. They seemed to experience a number of both external systematic factors (e.g. getting off with having done less work, because less was expected of them) and internal cultural factors (e.g. being embarrasses to speak up in class or being the only native student in the room, which leads to pressure and isolation). The researchers, like me, were caught off guard by the extent and frequency that the interviewees experienced both active and inactive racism. One example from the article that paralleled the ideas discussed by many people other than Native American students in the Town Hall Meeting was the inability of Native students to fit in when it came to finding a study group or otherwise fitting in. More than the students’ abilities to adapt themselves, here I think is a real way we can make a positive change wherever we see it. Just the action of engaging diverse students will help them better mesh into the social networks necessary for some to succeed in college.
Bowman, Nicholas A. “College Diversity Experiences and Cognitive Development: A Meta-Analysis.” Review of Educational Research. Sage Journals, Mar. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Jackson, Aaron P., Steven A. Smith, and Curtis L. Hill. “Academic Persistence Among Native American College Students.” Project MUSE. American College Personnel Association, 2003. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.