They will choose from pictures of four white, four African-American, four Hispanic and four Asians. The degree to which these individuals are willing to date other races will be demonstrated on who they ask to meet.
For example, an African-American woman may ask to meet all four of the African-American men, two Asian and two white men. Another African-American woman may ask to speed date with two African-American men, four white men, one Asian and one Hispanic. This second woman is more open to interracial dating.
Once the speed dating is completed (2 minutes for each meeting of the pair of individuals), the students will write up their comments for each "date," and whether or not they would like to see any of these men/women again. They will then meet in focus groups to provide input on why they decided to see these eight men/women, the results and whether they were as they expected.
It is believed that each of the four races will have a greater predominance of request for their own race partner and be more interested in pursuing this person after the speed dates are over. However, considerable amount of information can be gathered from the focus groups, such as 1)Why they chose who they did; 2) How did their choice and expectations correspond; 3) Why would they want to see certain individuals again; 4) Was race a consideration, why or why not? 5) Were there any other reasons why certain people liked or did not like some of the people they met? 6) Prior to this study, did they believe they were or were not prone to meeting with other races for dates? How did the results compare?
The students will not be aware of the fact that the researchers are interested in getting input on the interracial factor, but does not appear to be unethical. Also, the students will be told after they are done what the actual reason for the study was. In fact, this may be a good way for them to actually meet men and women they would like to see again! That would be a good follow-up study.
As I mention above, I do expect to see that most people will choose to meet with more individuals who are their race. There may be some individuals who purposely do not choose people of their race; these people should be interviewed to find out why they decided to meet others from a different race. Perhaps their background is different, which has an impact on why they picked.
Based on my expected results, I would not be surprised that people want to speed date more with men or women who are the same race as themselves. Although this may come down to racism, it may also have nothing to do with racism. It could just be the fact of feeling more comfortable with others who are the same race or, as noted above, a concern that they will be shunned or in trouble with their family if they date someone of a different race.
What these studies show, even when one tries to narrow down the variables -- in this case, just gender and race -- there are still many variables that one cannot eliminated. For example, such factors as appearance/looks is bound to have some impact on why men/women choose who they do to meet with. Also, after talking with each of these individuals, there can be myriad reasons why two people decide to see each other again -- similar interests, sexual attraction, geography, education, and so forth. The more studies that are conducted such as this, however, the better the understanding will be.
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