Motives Matter: White Instructors’ External Race-Based Motives Undermine Trust and Belonging for Black College Students

Jonathan W. Kunstman, Christina B. Fitzpatrick, Ryan Moreno, Michael J. Bernstein, Kurt Hugenberg, Sierra Semko, Kathy Espino-Pérez, Brenda Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Trust is fundamental to successful educational relationships. Yet, numerous barriers inhibit the development of trust between students of color (SOC) and White instructors. The current research examined ametacognitive obstacle to the development of cross-race classroomtrust: Primarily ExternalRaceMotives (PERM).PERM was defined as the experience that instructors were more concerned with avoiding the appearance ofprejudice than having self-directed egalitarian motives. Method: Using within-subjects vignettes (n = 313; 74.8%female), between-subjects cross-sectional designs (n = 386; 70.5% female), and longitudinal methods (n = 135;45.2% female), the current work tested the primary hypothesis that PERM would undermine instructor trust andclassroom belonging. Hypotheses were tested with Black adults (Study 1) and college students (Studies 2 and 3).Results and Conclusions:Whetherwith hypothetical, past, or present White educators, feeling that instructors haveprimarily external race-based motives undermined instructor trust and classroom belonging. In all studies, therelationship between PERM and classroom belonging was mediated by instructor (mis)trust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-124
Number of pages13
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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