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Assessing racial discrimination experiences and mental health of students of color on a predominantly white campus

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Vang, Lee
Pettit, Michele
Oct 23, 2017
Racism -- Wisconsin -- La Crosse; Minorities -- Mental Health; University of Wisconsin--La Crosse; Public Health
This study seeks to understand the racial discrimination experiences of students of color on a predominantly white campus and their perceived mental health. Racial tension exists between students of color and faculty and staff on this campus and in our larger commnunity, preventing the goal of equal access. Research shows that along with challenges, such as stress, from balancing classes, friends, homework, jobs and athletics, students of color have to learn how to cope with everyday subtle racial discrimination that lead to a higher level of societal pressure. These pressures can hinder their learning experiences; lower their life satisfaction and increase mental health issues. Using a qualitative approach the study investigates students of colors' racial discrimination experiences and their mental health. Data was gathered from February 2017 through March 2017 doing individual interviews. Data from the study resulted in the major themes: all acts of racial discrimination were in subtle forms and participants were unaware of the encounters until after the fact, psychologicai impacts include internalized racism and low self regard after the experience, and all participants conceded that more effort can be put into educating white students and staff on cultural competency and racial discrimination.
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