Perceptions of Racism and White Privilege Among White Graduate Students in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Liliana Williams, Kerry Danahy Ebert

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Purpose: In the White-dominated fields of audiology and speech-language pathology, graduate students should demonstrate awareness of racism and racial privilege to begin developing cultural humility. A 2013 survey of graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology indicated that White stu-dents demonstrated minimal awareness of White privilege (Ebert, 2013). This study builds on Ebert (2013) by investigating changes in White students’ per-ceptions of White privilege over time and by adding characterization of their perceptions of systemic racism. Method: A web-based survey was distributed to graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology programs across the country. The survey com-bined repeat questions from the work of Ebert (2013) with novel questions on systemic racism within the fields. For this study, only responses from White stu-dents were analyzed. Results: The majority of White respondents (n = 104) acknowledged White privi-lege and systemic racism, though colorblindness and denial were still present among student responses. Significant increases in acknowledgment of White privilege from the Ebert (2013) results were observed across all questions. In qualitative analyses, the most common themes were the impact of White privi-lege and systemic racism on quality of services, access and opportunities, and clinician–client mismatch. Conclusions: Among White audiology and speech-language pathology graduate students, awareness of White privilege has increased over the past decade and most students acknowledge this privilege, as well as systemic racism. However, additional steps should be taken by students, graduate training programs, and practicing clinicians to continue confronting racial inequities in the fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1449
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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