Remembering where we're from: Community- and individual-level predictors of college students' White privilege awareness

Emily J. Blevins, Nathan R. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars in the field of community psychology have called for more research dedicated to examining White privilege as part of a system of White supremacy in the United States. One branch of this work focuses on awareness of White privilege, yet to date, this research has typically investigated awareness of White privilege at individual levels of analysis instead of also focusing on neighborhoods, schools, and other levels of analysis beyond the individual. In this study, we combine survey and U.S. Census data to explore both individual- and community-level predictors of White privilege awareness. With a sample of 1285 White college students, we found that gender, modern racism, social dominance orientation, and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) significantly predicted White privilege awareness. After accounting for these individual-level variables, we found that characteristics of students' hometowns (defined by zip code) predicted White privilege awareness. Specifically, greater income inequality was associated with higher White privilege awareness, while greater White racial homogeneity was marginally associated with lower White privilege awareness. There was a significant interaction between community-level White racial homogeneity and individual-level subjective SES, such that students with high subjective SES and low White racial homogeneity had the highest White privilege awareness. This study highlights the importance of examining different facets of ecological context in relation to White Americans' racial attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-74
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Whites/European Americans
  • ecological systems
  • neighborhood
  • racial attitudes
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology


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