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"Several recent studies, at Ohio State and elsewhere, have found that having a roommate of a different race can reduce prejudice, diversify friendships and even boost black students academic performance. But, the research found, such relationships are more stressful and more likely to break up than same-race pairings.
As universities have grown more diverse, and interracial roommate assignments are more common, social scientists have looked to them as natural field experiments that can provide insights on race relations....
Russell H. Fazio, an Ohio State psychology professor who has studied interracial roommates there and at Indiana University, discovered an intriguing academic effect. In a study analyzing data on thousands of Ohio State freshmen who lived in dorms, he found that black freshmen who came to college with high standardized test scores earned better grades if they had a white roommate even if the roommates test scores were low. The roommates race had no effect on the grades of white students or low-scoring black students. Perhaps, the study speculated, having a white roommate helps academically prepared black students adjust to a predominantly white university...."