Study's conclusion: Move to Hawaii, become less racist

Study's conclusion: Move to Hawaii, become less racist
Published: Oct. 6, 2017 at 7:51 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 7, 2017 at 10:06 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Can moving to Hawaii make you less racist?

A new study from researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa suggests it might.

Ninety-nine students participated in the study. They all identified as white and had been living in Hawaii less than a week when they filled out an initial questionnaire for the research. Nine months later, the same students took the same survey. Over the period, their answers had changed.

"The thing that changed the most was their ideas about race as a category," said University of Hawaii associate professor of psychology Kristin Pauker, who headed up the study. "I think there is something unique about being in an environment where everywhere you look you see someone who doesn't necessarily look like you."

Over the course of the school year, the study found, the ethnicity of other people became less important to many of the study participants.

The study, "The role of diversity exposure in race essentialism over time," was first published online last month in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

So what do students feel about the study? A number that Hawaii News Now spoke to agreed that being in Hawaii can affect your views of others.

"I feel like that's true because you're exposed to other things you're not really exposed to back home," said Catriana Juarez, of Washington.

"I care more about the personality and more about behavior now," said Shin Saito, of Japan.

Kaylee Bartnes, of Washington, added: "Moving here you get such a mix of everything. You don't just think about yourself and your views. Like you see everyone's views."

But others believe views on race run much deeper.

"It depends like on your personality. Who you are as a person. Your values and your morals. How you were brought up," said Linda Benavites, of California.

Marcus Armstrong, of Colorado, said to get rid of racism "we'd have to replace the governmental system we're living in right now."

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