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Racism perceptions in White graduate students (Williams & Ebert, 2023)

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posted on 2023-05-17, 15:18 authored by Liliana Williams, Kerry Danahy Ebert

Purpose: In the White-dominated fields of audiology and speech-language pathology, graduate students should demonstrate awareness of racism and racial privilege to begin developing cultural humility. A 2013 survey of graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology indicated that White students demonstrated minimal awareness of White privilege (Ebert, 2013). This study builds on Ebert (2013) by investigating changes in White students’ perceptions of White privilege over time and by adding characterization of their perceptions of systemic racism.

Method: A web-based survey was distributed to graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology programs across the country. The survey combined repeat questions from the work of Ebert (2013) with novel questions on systemic racism within the fields. For this study, only responses from White students were analyzed.

Results: The majority of White respondents (n = 104) acknowledged White privilege and systemic racism, though colorblindness and denial were still present among student responses. Significant increases in acknowledgment of White privilege from the Ebert (2013) results were observed across all questions. In qualitative analyses, the most common themes were the impact of White privilege and systemic racism on quality of services, access and opportunities, and clinician–client mismatch.

Conclusions: Among White audiology and speech-language pathology graduate students, awareness of White privilege has increased over the past decade and most students acknowledge this privilege, as well as systemic racism. However, additional steps should be taken by students, graduate training programs, and practicing clinicians to continue confronting racial inequities in the fields.

Supplemental Material S1. Detailed comparison of questions that changed from Ebert (2013) survey in the present survey.

Supplemental Material S2. Categorization of multiple-choice responses by question.

Supplemental Material S3. Demographic characteristics of respondents who discontinued the survey compared to those who completed quantitative questions.

Supplemental Material S4. Examples of participant responses to qualitative questions with corresponding codes.

Supplemental Material S5. Comparison of responses to quantitative questions by membership in a diversity-related professional group.

Supplemental Material S6. Comparison of responses to quantitative questions by professional program.

Williams, L., & Ebert, K. D. (2023). Perceptions of racism and White privilege among White graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(4), 1431–1449.