Prof. Pica-Smith Shares Importance of Interracial Friendships
Cinzia Pica-Smith, Ed.D., associate professor of human services and rehabilitation studies and director of the University’s Women’s Studies Program, has published widely on interracial friendships in children, how these friendships can be supported in schools, and how social justice education impacts all youth. Prof. Pica-Smith recently presented a virtual lecture on interracial friendships as part of the Shrewsbury Public Library’s speaker series on social justice.
Prof. Pica-Smith’s lecture titled, “The Importance of Interracial Friendships,” discussed her research on cross-race friendships among youth, and in particular, why they are so rare in both children and adults.
“Cross-race friendships in youth are important as they are associated with decreased prejudice reduction, reduced outgroup anxiety, increased cultural competence, and increased pro-social behaviors,” explained Prof. Pica-Smith. “It was my goal to provide some context as to why interracial friendships are so rare in both children and adults, focusing primarily on children’s perceptions of intergroup friendships as well as their real-life experiences in cross-race friendship situations. There are systemic barriers that exist in our communities and schools that mitigate the formation and maintenance of these important bonds.”
Prof. Pica-Smith has also been invited to virtually present a lecture on interracial friendships to a network of libraries across the Boston area in February. Her presentation, entitled “Cross-Race Friendships in Youth: Obstacles and Possibilities,” will take place on Saturday, February 6 as part of the “Libraries Working towards Social Justice” initiative. The eight libraries include those in the Massachusetts towns of Andover, Burlington, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover, Tewksbury, and Wilmington.
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