Racially Diverse Classrooms: Effects of Classroom Racial Composition on Interracial Peer Relationships

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the interactive effects that a child’s race and the racial composition of a classroom have on a variety of sociometric measures. Socio-metric nominations were collected from 872 fifth-grade students (48% male, 48% Black) who were in classrooms that ranged from nearly all Black to nearly all White students. Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses indicated that the race of the child, the race of the rater, and the classroom race composition each impacted sociometric nominations. Results suggest that schools that are more balanced in the distribution of Black and White students might promote more positive interracial peer relationships. However, opportunities to be highly liked and to be perceived as a leader might be greatest in a school in which the child is in the clear racial majority.

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