Fraternity Membership and Negative Racial Attitudes Among U.S. College Students
33 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2018
Date Written: May 23, 2018
Over the years, race-related incidents involving Greek letter organizations (GLOs), especially fraternities, continue to arise despite the ensuing controversy and negative media attention that inevitably follow such incidents. The present study examines whether there is an association between GLO membership and negative racial attitudes given a range of relevant psychological, sociological, and political theories about racial attitudes. Building on insights from microclass research on attitudinal structuring and drawing on the National Longitudinal Study of Freshmen (N=2817), results of linear regression models indicate that GLO membership is associated with heightened negative racial attitudes, particularly among white male students. Moreover, a measure of racial group affiliation partially mediates this effect. This latter finding suggests that among the various racial attitude theories, group position theory may be better formulated to explain an association between GLO membership and negative racial attitudes, given its consideration of both in-group boundary formation and organizations. The results also support microclass processes and suggest future research to more clearly account for pre-occupational structuring that later feed into occupational processes.
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