American Sociological Association

Using Racial and Class Differences in Infant Mortality to Teach about White Privilege: A Cooperative Group Activity

A considerable amount of research across the past several decades has documented the emergence of a new racial ideology of “color-blindness” as well as evidence that white college students have difficulty recognizing the racial privileges that are obscured by this color-blindness. To address this, we developed a cooperative group White Privilege Activity that used racial and class differences in infant mortality to help students recognize the existence of white privilege. Fielding this in two mass lecture sections of Introductory Sociology, we found that exposure to content on white privilege along with the utilization of cooperative learning group exercises promoted a greater understanding of white privilege for both white and nonwhite students. Furthermore, we found that the racial composition of cooperative learning groups had a significant impact on white students’ racial privilege attitudes.

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Jessica A. Cebulak and John F. Zipp





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