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One America - Prejudice Across America College Tour

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One America

Program: Prejudice Across America College Tour, Spokane, WA
Contact(s): Dr. James Waller, Chair of the Department of Psychology, (509) 777-4424
Purpose: To increase knowledge related to racial and religious diversity and to promote tolerance

Background Program Operations Outcomes

Background

In January 1996, a three-week cross country tour designed to provide students with first hand knowledge and experiences of prejudices in American culture was offered at Whitworth College. Its success led to a repeat tour in January of 1998, and is scheduled to be offered every even year school term.

Program Operations

The "Prejudice Across America" College Tour examines expressions of prejudice in America and exposes participants to first-hand accounts of minority experiences. The 20 students participating in the tour take a pre-requisite course, which includes extensive reading, lectures, class discussions and two examinations, before they can travel on the tour. After they complete that course, they embark on a month-long journey by train with arranged visits to national museums, exhibitions, relevant historical sights and special lectures. In 1998, the coast-to-coast tour traveled through Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., with visits to sites ranging from the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the Martin Luther King Memorial Library to the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, the DuSable Museum of African-American History and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The group stays in inner-city hostels and participates in nightly debriefings and daily journals. There are four objectives to this course: 1.) human relations skills, where students learn the basic understanding and practical skills in communications; 2.) self-awareness, where students research their racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds; 3.) awareness of diversity--students are exposed to multiple cultures, and they examine the general dynamics behind stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination; and 4.) personal interaction with diversity--promoting personal contact with people of different backgrounds. In the spring, participants from the tour give a presentation to the campus community.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

To date, 41 students have participated in the two study tours. Their responses, reflected in journals, reveal the effect that this tour has had on their desire to create a more racially unified America. The tour will occur every other year, during the January school term.


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