Color-Blind Racial Ideology and Beliefs About a Racialized University Mascot

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Abstract

We examined the link between color-blind racial ideology (CBRI; i.e., the belief that race and racism are irrelevant for the contemporary moment) and students' agreement with a university's decision to discontinue a controversial racialized mascot (i.e., “Chief Illiniwek”) among a sample of 389 racially diverse college students. Students also elaborated on their views about the discontinuance of the mascot in an open-ended question. Seven themes emerged from the open-ended responses, including: (a) Chief was Not Offensive/Not Racist, (b) Chief was a Symbol of Honor and Pride, (c) Empathic Concern for American Indians, (d) Chief was Offensive/Racist, (e) University Acquiesced to External Pressure, (f) Discontinuance Decision was Motivated by Political Correctness, and (g) Chief was Not a Big Deal. As predicted, greater levels of CBRI were significantly correlated with lower support for the decision to discontinue the mascot. Findings from a series of multiple logistic regression models indicated that five of the seven themes were predicted by CBRI; only the University Acquiesced to External Pressure and the Chief was Not a Big Deal themes were not predicted by any of the study variables. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

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