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The Social Justice and Community Psychology
Research Lab in the Psychology Department at California State University
at Los Angeles is directed by Dr. Kimberly King. Our lab is currently
conducting research in 2 primary areas: 1) The sexual harassment
experiences of college students of color and 2) The effects of political
ideology related to social identity on perceptions and experiences of


Sexual Harassment Experiences among College Students of Color

Research has found that between 13 and 50% of
female college students report experiences such as verbal sexual
advances, physical advances, and sexist remarks about their clothing,
body, or sexual activities by professors (Adams, Kottke, and Padgitt,
1983; Dziech and Weiner, 1984; Fitzgerald et al., 1988). When sexual
harassment is defined more broadly to include offensive comments and
jokes about women, the prevalence rate rises to over 70% (Fitzgerald et
al., 1988). Although advances have been made in the study of sexual
harassment in higher education, a major gap in the existing literature
is the absence of data about the experiences of college women of color.

Oor current research is interested in
determining the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment in a sample
of Asian, Latina, and African American women students at an urban
university. It also examines the definitions and perceptions of sexual
harassment among women of color and demographic and political ideology
factors that may predict these. In particular, the role of ethnic
identity, feminist identity and womanism (the combination of ethnic and
feminist identities) in predicting definitions and perceptions of sexual
harassment among women of color.

The data for this study was collected at
California State University at Los Angeles during the Winter and Spring
Quarters of 2000. We have over 500 completed questionnaires and are in
the process of data analysis.


Sociopolitical Identity and Perceptions of Prejudice

Our research in this area focuses on the
social identity and perceptions of prejudice among African American
women. The specific experiences of women of color have seldom been
examined empirically; rather, most research on race does not explore
gender, while research on gender seldom considers how it interacts with
race. Yet, African American women, for example, are simultaneously
members of oppressed racial and gender groups and may experience unique
interactive forms of race and gender prejudice.

The current research examines the relationship
between sociopolitical identity (i.e., ethnic identity, feminist
identity, and womanist identity) and perceptions of prejudice. We found
that both ethnic and womanist identity were important predictors of the
extent and type of prejudice that was perceived by African American
women in an attributionally ambiguous intergroup situation. We also
found that women who perceived greater amounts of prejudice in the
situation suffered from decreased state self-esteem and increased