Going Solo as a Black Representative
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling
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Black/African American individuals often find themselves in social situations where they are the only person of their race present, also known as solo status. This study investigated whether African Americans/Black individuals felt an obligation to represent their race when placed in solo status situations. In addition, participants’ racial identity was measured to determine if it would influence obligation to represent race and felt state anxiety after the analogue experimental exposure to a vignette featuring different numbers of Black individuals in the room. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 vignettes that either stated that they were the only Black individual in a room of a White people (solo status situation), 1 of 2 Black people in a room of White people, or in a room with an evenly distributed proportion of Black and White individuals. Pictures were provided illustrating the number of Black and White individuals in the room to accompany the written vignettes; however, participants were not asked to imagine that they were one of the people pictured in the room. Results showed that racial identity did not have a significant relationship with obligation to represent or state anxiety. Exposure to the solo status vignette did not produce higher state anxiety compared to the other two vignettes nor did it illustrate a significant relationship between trait anxiety and obligation to represent one’s race. Furthermore, having a stronger familial connection did not result in a stronger obligation to represent. However, a partial correlation did show that participants with higher trait anxiety, in general, felt more obligated to represent their race. Implications for future research are discussed.