Original Research

Colour-blind attitudes of students at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus

Jaime-Lee Ayford, Johan Zaaiman
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 6 | a97 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v6i0.97 | © 2021 Jaime-Lee Ayford, Johan Zaaiman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2020 | Published: 08 April 2021

About the author(s)

Jaime-Lee Ayford, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Johan Zaaiman, School of Social Studies, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Background:Colour-blind attitudes deny racial dynamics and can lead to resistance to transformation because there seems to be no need for it. This study investigated these attitudes amongst students at a university campus engaged with implementing its transformation agenda.

Aim: Using a survey, the research determined the prevalence of colour-blind attitudes amongst students and evaluated the social factors that may have contributed to these attitudes.

Setting: The research was conducted amongst undergraduates at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa, in 2017.

Methods: A literature review was conducted around the occurrence of colour-blind attitudes amongst students and the associated social factors. Race, gender, racial prejudice, just-world beliefs and social dominance orientation in particular were found to contribute to colour-blind attitudes. A quantitative survey was then conducted amongst a quota sample of 300 students. The data collected on the social factors and colour-blind attitudes were statistically analysed.

Results: The students’ colour-blind attitudes were found to be moderate. The social factor of race correlated significantly with colour-blind attitudes, but gender did not. Racial prejudice presented a medium correlation with colour-blind attitudes but just-world beliefs and social dominance orientation only a small correlation.

Conclusion: Colour-blind attitudes at the campus were related to race and racial prejudice. This demonstrates the need for students to be offered room to openly discuss and engage with race and issues concerning race. The difference between the findings in this study and extant literature indicates a necessity for further qualitative research to gain a more comprehensive understanding about racial issues amongst students at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus.


colour-blind attitudes; race; gender; racial prejudice; just-world beliefs; social dominance orientation; students; North-West University


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