What does it mean to study racism on college campuses? Mostly talking with white students about race, says Nolan L. Cabrera, an associate professor in the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. One might think they wouldn’t have much to say, but do they ever. In one case, a young man was so intent to continue the conversation that he followed the professor into the bathroom.
After more than 100 interviews, Cabrera is at work on a book, White Guys on Campus, coming out this year from Rutgers University Press. He has found that while white male students often refrain from commenting on matters of race publicly, in a research environment they’re eager to express their opinions about affirmative action, racially themed jokes, and perceived racism against white people. Their views on race are impassioned, he says, even though they can go weeks at a time without thinking about race at all…..