Black and white tokens in academia: A difference of chronic versus acute distinctiveness


Journal Article

Token status effects, also called distinctiveness, include feelings of racial/gender awareness, representativeness, and accountability. In this multimethod three-part research, it is argued that Black students in a predominantly White university feel chronically distinctive, whereas White students may feel acutely distinctive when they are in the numerical minority. However, this acute distinctiveness is situation specific. First a pilot study confirmed that Black and White females differ in their reports of distinctiveness. Study 1 showed that Black students feel chronically distinctive and that they are often "solos" in classrooms. Study 2 tried to separate race and solo status effects on distinctiveness by experimentally manipulating group solo status. Results indicate a main effect for solo status and also a main effect for race on feelings of distinctiveness across solo conditions. Applications of this research for the token literature and for distinctiveness theory are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pollak, KI; Niemann, YF

Published Date

  • June 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 954 - 972

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9029

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1998.tb01662.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus