Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Understanding Diversity: Celebrating Difference, Challenging Inequality


While in the recent past overtly racist comments were tolerated and expected, now social pressures exist to avoid such racist statements (Feagin, 2006). However, subtle measures and tests in psychology and social psychology suggest a nonracist mask is covering an intact racist core, and that whites regularly underestimate the extent of their prejudice (Bonilla-Silva & Forman, 2000; Kawakami, Dunn, Karmali, & Dovidio, 2009). There is much social science literature on modern racism or colorblind racism: negative racial attitudes that haven't disappeared, they've just gone underground (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Carr, 1997; Dovidio & Gaertner, 1991). Specifically, many argue that racism is hidden, subtle, and invisible, even if its consequences are not.

In order to further investigate this underground or subtle racism, Joe Feagin and I asked over 1,000 college students of all racial backgrounds across the U.S. to keep a journal or diary detailing their everyday racial interactions. We sought to examine if and how race impacts college students' daily lives. We published a book, Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage (Picca & Feagin, 2007) that examines the accounts of the 626 white college students; we're currently writing a second book on the experiences of the more than 400 students of color. The college students were recruited from across the United States, oversampIing in the southeast and midwest, and the majority of the students were in the traditional age range (18 to 25).

Numerous white students in the sample said that racism was less of a problem among their generation, who were more accepting. Many white students wrote, "Racism will die when Grandpa dies," indicating that their generation is remarkably different than previous generations. However, analyzing the journals reveals that this is far from true. Grandpa'S racism is still alive and well-it just looks different for young adults today.

Inclusive pages




Document Version

Published Version


Chapter 11, "Everyday Racial Interactions for Whites and College Students of Color," is provided for download with the express permission of the publisher. Permission documentation is on file.

To read the entire book, visit an academic library or visit the publisher's website.

Permission statement: Renzetti, Claire M.; Kennedy-Bergen, Raquel M. Understanding Diversity: Celebrating Difference, Challenging Inequality (2015), pp. 144-155. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education Inc., New York, NY.


Pearson Education

Place of Publication

Upper Saddle River, NJ