Perception of racism among BIPOC graduate students (Ebert & Williams, 2023)
Purpose: Audiology (AUD) and speech-language pathology (SLP) are White-dominated fields that operate within racist systems. Systemic racism has profoundly negative impacts on students and professionals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). This study explored the perceptions and experiences of systemic racism in BIPOC AUD and SLP graduate students as a means to promote antiracism efforts in the fields.
Method: A national web-based survey was used to collect information from 46 graduate students. The survey included quantitative questions about systemic racism in the AUD and SLP fields as well as open-ended questions regarding the personal, professional, and client-related impacts of racism. Analyses aimed to characterize patterns first within the overall BIPOC sample and then within three disaggregated racial–ethnic groups (Asian, Black, and Latino/a) to characterize potential differences within the heterogeneous BIPOC category.
Results: On quantitative questions, a substantial majority of BIPOC students selected options consistent with perceptions of systemic racism and White privilege. Qualitative questions yielded several themes related to the personal, professional, and client-related impacts of systemic racism from the perspective of BIPOC students, including reduced access to educational opportunities as well as clinical services, experiences with appearance-based discrimination as well as overt racism, and persistent underrepresentation with accompanying feelings of otherness. Disaggregation of responses suggested some differences in response patterns across racial–ethnic groups, which may warrant further investigation.
Conclusions: The perspectives of AUD and SLP graduate students reinforce other reports of systemic racism in the fields. Multiple actions are warranted to instigate systemic change that supports graduate students, professionals, and clients of color.
Supplemental Material S1. Survey questions.
Ebert, K. D., & Williams, L. (2023). Perceptions of racism among graduate students of color in audiology and speech-language pathology. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(6), 2982–2998. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJSLP-23-00163