Dr. Desiree Crevecoeur-MacPhail
Within the last decade, discussions regarding the implementation of critical race theory in education have gained significant controversy among educators and politicians. Although empirical research on critical race theory is limited, conservative states continue to place bans on the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in K-12 schools (Carter, 2021). The purpose of this study was to build empirical research on CRT, specifically examining whether a course utilizing a critical race curriculum is effective in reducing negative stereotype beliefs and improving attitudes toward critical race theory. Nineteen undergraduate students who were enrolled in the course, IES 102: The Social Construct of Difference, at Chapman University, were selected to participate in this study. Within the first two weeks of the course, students were recruited to participate in an online pre-test that assessed their beliefs in stereotypes and attitudes toward the concept of critical race theory. In the last four weeks of the course, students were recruited back to complete a similar post-test, assessing their beliefs in stereotypes and attitudes toward the concept of critical race theory again. There was no significant difference between participants’ belief in stereotypes and attitude toward critical race theory before and after exposure to a critical race curriculum. However, students who identify as more liberal had a more positive attitude to CRT, and students who identify within a minority community had fewer beliefs in negative stereotypes. These results are significant as it demonstrates that beliefs in stereotypes and support for a critical race curriculum are dependent on identity. Based on the significant results of this study, educators and advocates should focus on debunking the myths of critical race theory and spreading awareness on its true values and curriculum, especially towards conservative groups. Additionally, educators should utilize activities to build empathy and perspective-taking skills towards “outgroups” to improve intergroup relations.
Modaressi, Saba Lily and Crevecoeur-MacPhail, Desiree A., "Critical Race Theory: An Empirical Investigation of its Benefits" (2023). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 591.