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Hawaiian elementary school students' ratings of perceived academic ability of Hawaiian, Japanese, and White American children: A formulation from the racial identity perspective

Christian Kimo Alameda, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study was on Hawaiian elementary school students' perceptions of the academic ability of three racial groups, Hawaiian, Japanese, and White American. I argued that the cultural revival and political self-empowerment in Hawaii would have positively influenced Hawaiian children's racial attitudes, in that they would no longer accept the negative stereotypes (e.g., unintelligent) that were assigned to them by early European missionaries and White Americans. The primary hypothesis was that in a classroom assessment situation, Hawaiian children would rate the photos of other Hawaiian children as equally or significantly more academically able than the photos representing children of the Japanese and White American races. ^ Contrary to the hypothesis, Hawaiian children rated White and Japanese American children as significantly more academically able than children from their own race. The second hypothesis was that Hawaiian children attending a private-monoracial school (Kamehameha Elementary enrolling only Hawaiians) would rate Hawaiian photos significantly higher than children attending a public-multiracial school (Waiakea Elementary). Again, contrary to this hypothesis, children in both schools rated the Hawaiian photos as being the least academically able and the White American photos as being the most academically able. ^ The third hypothesis was that girls would rate girl photos higher and boys would rate boy photos higher. Contrary to this hypothesis, there was no significant interaction effect between sex of the participants and sex of the photos. Similarly, this study showed that socioeconomic status and socialization in the Hawaiian cultural heritage were not significant predictors of how Hawaiian students rated photos of children from the three racial groups. ^ Thus, the perceptions of Hawaiian elementary school students were relatively independent of school type (private vs. public), sex, socioeconomic status, and socialization in the Hawaiian culture. The race of illustrated children was the strongest variable in this study. These findings support the theoretical notion that negative racial identity attitudes of visible racial and ethnic minority groups toward their respective groups subsume other variables, such as socioeconomic status and geographic location (Cross, 1978). Helms' (1995, 1996) revised Black Racial Identity Development (BIRD) model was used to explain the study's theoretical basis and results. Implications of the findings and the limitations of the study have been discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Elementary|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Alameda, Christian Kimo, "Hawaiian elementary school students' ratings of perceived academic ability of Hawaiian, Japanese, and White American children: A formulation from the racial identity perspective" (1999). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9936751.