A “BAD APPLE” OR A “SPOILED BARREL”?: OBSERVING OVERT RACISM PREDICTS DIVERGING PERCEPTIONS OF RACISM AND RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA
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Blacks and Whites draw different interpretations of the blatant racism that they witness, even when their reactions appear to be identical. Across three studies, we hypothesized that Blacks would endorse the idea that societal racism is unchangeable and pervasive. Separately, Whites would believe that individual prejudice is immutable but rare. In Study 1, we constructed a measure of people’s lay theories of societal racism and established its construct and predictive validity. Blacks who endorsed an entity theory of societal racism were more likely to estimate a high prevalence of racism in the US and expect people who enter into hierarchy-maintaining careers (i.e., police) to become more racist. In Studies 2 and 3, we manipulated the presence of overt racism by having participants read about discrimination in the workplace. In both studies, Blacks and Whites differentially endorsed the two types of lay theories of racism (individual and societal). Differential endorsement of lay theories of racism predicted opposing estimates about the prevalence of racists and reported self-efficacy with regards to pursuing a current goal. All three studies lend an account for why witnessing blatant racism may accentuate intergroup tensions.
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Matthew Wilmot (2019). A “BAD APPLE” OR A “SPOILED BARREL”?: OBSERVING OVERT RACISM PREDICTS DIVERGING PERCEPTIONS OF RACISM AND RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14738