This study originally appeared in the Journal for Multicultural Education, the full study can be found here. 

In this study, Dr. Damion Waymer and Dr. Kenon A. Brown explored the reasoning behind the small number of underrepresented racial and ethnic practitioners in the public relations industry. The researchers focused on the undergraduate environment as a pipeline to the profession and sought to determine whether issues of race played a role in students’ ability to succeed in PR coursework and gain professional experience.

Email interviews were conducted with 22 public relations practitioners. The sample of practitioners was limited to those with five or fewer years of industry experience.

Key findings include:

  • 90% of respondents stated that race had little or no effect on their own individual social and pre-professional development.
  • 50% of the Latina, African American, and Asian American respondents indicated their race had no impact on their educational development.
  • The other 50% stated that being underrepresented was uncomfortable for them at times, as they believed they had to prove themselves more than their white counterparts in the classroom.
  • 95% of respondents expressed awareness that race can shape how others perceive abilities.

Read more to learn about the underlying factors of minority underrepresentation in the public relations industry.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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