ITP Seminar | Racialized Prisms: A Randomized Experiment on Families’ Perceptions of Schools

October 18, 2019, 12 - 1:30 pm

Room 259, Educational Sciences Building

Chantal Hailey

PhD Candidate, New York University

Social scientists continue to debate whether families’ avoidance of schools with higher fractions of racial outgroups results from racial animus or their use of racial demographics as a heuristic for school characteristics. I argue that racial segregation persists, in part, because families perceive school characteristics through a racial prism, whereby their racial biases, awareness of cultural stereotypes, and racial contexts contribute to racialized perceptions of identical schools. To explore this theory, I conduct an experiment with a racially diverse sample of 900 students and parents currently choosing schools, and externally validate these findings byanalyzing school application data from the same city. I find families interpretthe same data differently depending on schools’ racial demographics.