Afrofuturism as Applied to Self-Perception: an Experimental Vignette Study
Huddleston, Kayla M.
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There exists an urgency for social workers to find new and compelling approaches in the field of social work. In an effort to address that call for innovation and quest for knowledge, this research was an exploration of how the broad genre of science fiction and social work can be linked. This study used vignettes written in an Afrofuturistic perspective as a framework to study self-perception among Black college students. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of four vignettes in which the protagonist’s race and the story outcome were manipulated (Black versus White race and positive versus negative story outcome). Participants then rated themselves in the future on 18 personality dimensions. Analyses yielded a story outcome x protagonist race interaction. When the story outcome was negative, ratings of self in the future were more positive when the protagonist was Black versus White. When the story outcome was positive, in contrast, ratings of self in the future didn’t differ as a function of protagonist race. There are several existing concepts that are expanded upon to explain the results including “resilience” for why participants rated themselves positively when the Black character performed negatively. With improvements made to the methodology, this research could benefit social work at all levels of practice: micro (clinical social work), mezzo (social work education), and macro (strategizing creative policy reform).