Report Details Racial Stereotyping at U of Illinois

May 5, 2015

More than half of students of color who responded to a survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said they have experienced stereotyping, according to a new report from the university's Racial Microaggressions Project.

The report is based on an online survey of 4,800 students of color during the 2011 academic year. About a quarter of respondents said they felt their contributions in the classroom "have been minimized because of race" or that they were "made to feel inferior because of the way they spoke." About 40 percent said they felt uncomfortable on campus because of their race, with "fraternity- and sorority-certified housing" being cited as the most uncomfortable locations on campus.

The report also includes several anecdotes from students of color who have experienced racial microaggressions, which are described as “daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights and insults that send hostile, derogatory or negative messages to people of color." The respondents described how other students seemed hesitant to sit near them in class, how affirmative action was frequently mentioned by nonminority students as the reason racial minorities were able to attend the university, and how they were often called on specifically to provide a racial minority perspective during discussions.

A similar report was published in January by Harvard University’s Voices of Diversity project.

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