"Cosmetic diversity": University websites and the transformation of race categories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Universities are under pressure to represent the ethno-racial diversity of their student bodies in the most favorable light via their websites. We analyzed the race/ethnicity tables and figures featured prominently on the websites of 158 colleges and universities. We found 3 practices that institutions undertake to enhance the appearance of diversity on campus: omission, aggregation, and addition of ethno-racial categories. Universities with the lowest levels of student diversity were the most likely to engage in these practices. We understand these practices to be organizational-level racial projects (Omi & Winant, 2015). That is, universities are actively transforming "the content and importance of racial categories" (p. 61).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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