Derailed by Diversity

(Reposted from Medical Express – an academic on why ethnic diversity/multiculturism is detrimental)

Anthony Burrow, assistant professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology, led the study, which was conducted on Chicago trains. The findings shed light on how people encounter diversity in everyday settings at a time when the United States is more racially mixed than ever, with demographic trends pointing to a more multicultural melting pot in decades to come.

In two experiments, college students reported their mood as they rode a train from Chicago’s North Side toward the city center for 14 consecutive stops, while Burrow’s team privately recorded naturally occurring changes to the overall ethnic and gender makeup of the car’s passengers during the trip. For the first study, all 111 participants filled out a short questionnaire to assess their life purpose prior to boarding. In the second study, before riding, half of the 116 participants completed a 10-minute writing exercise about life purpose, while the others responded to a question about movies.

Participants’ negative mood heightened as the ratio of people from different ethnic backgrounds aboard the train increased, regardless of their own race and after controlling for various factors, such as an individual’s personality,familiarity with metro trains and perceived safety of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“This research is among the first to show negative reactivity to diversity occurs dynamically within people, and not just between them,” Burrow said. “That is, it is not simply that people who reside in more ethnically diverse communities experience greater distress than those living in less ethnically diverse communities, as suggested by past studies. Now we can see that when a person is in a more ethnically diverse setting, they feel more distressed than when they are in less ethnically diverse settings.”

 

The study, “Derailed by Diversity?: Purpose Buffers the Relationship Between Ethnic Composition on Trains and Passenger Negative Mood,” was published online Aug. 27 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and was co-authored by Patrick Hill of Carleton University.

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