(CAMPUS REFORM) The University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered — to its surprise — that most of its students are not discriminatory.
UW psychology professor Markus Brauer, who led the study, said that students from marginalized backgrounds “are very frequently the target of discrimination or offensive comments.” To test students’ habits around inclusivity, Brauer and his team hired actors over the course of several years to represent students from marginalized backgrounds — Black, Asian American, and Muslim, as well as a male who wore a “gay pride” shirt — to participate in behaviors that could elicit discrimination from other students.
The researchers, who expected to find a high degree of discrimination, found that the vast majority of students treat students from different backgrounds equally well.
Advertisement - story continues below
“We were surprised by these results,” explained Brauer. “We tried out one situation, then another one, and so forth. But study after study came back with the same result: Most students did not treat our white actor more positively than the Black, Asian, or Muslim actors.”