Same Race and Cross Race Matching
Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL)
Technical Assistance Packet 7 , May 2002, 36 pages
This report provides guidance to mentoring program administrators and staff on the complex issue of same-race and cross-race matching of mentors and youth. While there is little systematic data on the relative importance of aligning race, preliminary research suggests that the effects of race on relationships are subtle and act in combination with other factors such as gender and the mentor's interpersonal style. Mentoring practitioners get information about: (1) the arguments in support of same-race matching vs. those in support of cross-race matching; (2) program practices that address mentor-youth matching, and (3) suggested approaches for training mentors to understand diversity and respect values that are different from their own. Whether the adult mentor should be the same race as the child or youth depends on the program's missions, goals, and priorities, the preferences of the child's parent or guardian, the personal qualities of the mentor, and, most importantly, on whether the match would make a difference in what the mentoring relationship means for the individual child or youth.