Black people are convicted more for being black than for being poor: The role of social norms and cultural prejudice on biased racial judgments.
ABSTRACT: Black and poor people are more frequently convicted of committing crimes. However, the specific role played by skin color and social class in convicting a person has yet to be clarified. This article aims to elucidate this issue by proposing that belonging to a lower social class facilitates the conviction of black targets and that this phenomenon is because information about social class dissimulates racial bias. Study 1 (N = 160) demonstrated that information about belonging to the lower classes increases agreement with a criminal suspect being sentenced to prison only when described as being black. Furthermore, Studies 2 (N = 170) and 3 (N = 174) show that the anti-prejudice norm inhibits discrimination against the black target when participants were asked to express individual racial prejudice, but not when they expressed cultural racial prejudice. Finally, Study 4 (N = 134) demonstrated that lower-class black targets were discriminated against to a greater degree when participants expressed either individual or cultural prejudice and showed that this occurs when racial and class anti-prejudice norms are salient. The results suggest that social class negatively affects judgments of black targets because judgment based on lower class mitigates the racist motivation of discrimination.
Project description:It is commonly hypothesized that higher cognitive abilities promote racial tolerance and a greater commitment to racial equality, but an alternative theoretical framework contends that higher cognitive abilities merely enable members of a dominant racial group to articulate a more refined legitimizing ideology for racial inequality. According to this perspective, ideological refinement occurs in response to shifting patterns of racial conflict and is characterized by rejection of overt prejudice, superficial support for racial equality in principle, and opposition to policies that challenge the dominant group's status. This study estimates the impact of verbal ability on a comprehensive set of racial attitudes, including anti-black prejudice, views about black-white equality in principle, and racial policy support. It also investigates cohort differences in the effects of verbal ability on these attitudes. Results suggest that high-ability whites are less likely than low-ability whites to report prejudicial attitudes and more likely to support racial equality in principle. Despite these liberalizing effects, high-ability whites are no more likely to support a variety of remedial policies for racial inequality. Results also suggest that the ostensibly liberalizing effects of verbal ability on anti-black prejudice and views about racial equality in principle emerged slowly over time, consistent with ideological refinement theory.
Project description:Although scholars have long studied circumstances that shape prejudice, inquiry into factors associated with long-term prejudice reduction has been more limited. Using a 6-year longitudinal study of non-Black physicians in training (N = 3,134), we examined the effect of three medical-school factors-interracial contact, medical-school environment, and diversity training-on explicit and implicit racial bias measured during medical residency. When accounting for all three factors, previous contact, and baseline bias, we found that quality of contact continued to predict lower explicit and implicit bias, although the effects were very small. Racial climate, modeling of bias, and hours of diversity training in medical school were not consistently related to less explicit or implicit bias during residency. These results highlight the benefits of interracial contact during an impactful experience such as medical school. Ultimately, professional institutions can play a role in reducing anti-Black bias by encouraging more frequent, and especially more favorable, interracial contact.
Project description:Why do essentialist beliefs promote prejudice? We proposed that essentialist beliefs increase prejudice toward Black people because they imply that existing social hierarchies reflect a naturally occurring structure. We tested this hypothesis in three studies (N = 621). Study 1 revealed that racial essentialism was associated with increased prejudice toward Blacks among both White and Black adult participants, suggesting that essentialism relates to prejudice according to social hierarchy rather than only to group membership. Studies 2 and 3 experimentally demonstrated that increasing essentialist beliefs induced stronger endorsement of social hierarchy in both Black and White participants, which in turn mediated the effect of essentialism on negative attitudes toward Black people. Together, these findings suggest that essentialism increases prejudice toward low status groups by increasing endorsement of social hierarchies and existing inequality.
Project description:Modern psychological theories postulate that individual differences in prejudice are determined by social and ideological attitudes instead of personality. For example, the dual-process motivational (DPM) model argues that personality does not directly associate with prejudice when controlling for the attitudinal variables that capture the authoritarian-conservatism motivation and the dominance motivation. Previous studies testing the DPM model largely relied on convenience samples and/or European samples, and have produced inconsistent results. Here we examined the extent to which anti-black prejudice was associated with the Big Five personality traits and social and ideological attitudes (authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, political party affiliation) in two large probability samples of the general population (N1 = 3,132; N2 = 2,483) from the American National Election Studies (ANES). We performed structural equation modeling (SEM) to test the causal assumptions between the latent variables and used survey weights to generate estimates that were representative of the population. Different from prior theories, across both datasets we found that two personality traits, agreeableness and conscientiousness, were directly associated with anti-black prejudice when controlling for authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and political party affiliation. We also found that a substantial part of the associations between personality traits and anti-black prejudice were mediated through those social and ideological attitudes, which might serve as candidates for prejudice-reduction interventions in the real world.
Project description:Less racially prototypic faces elicit more category competition during race categorization. Top-down factors (e.g. stereotypes), however, affect categorizations, suggesting racial prototypicality may enhance category competition in certain perceivers. Here, we examined how prejudice affects race category competition and stabilization when perceiving faces varying in racial prototypicality. Prototypically low vs high Black relative to White faces elicited more category competition and slower response latencies during categorization (Experiment 1), suggesting a pronounced racial prototypicality effect on minority race categorization. However, prejudice predicted the extent of category competition between prototypically low vs high Black faces. Suggesting more response conflict toward less prototypic Black vs White faces, anterior cingulate cortex activity increased toward Black vs White faces as they decreased in racial prototypicality, with prejudice positively predicting this difference (Experiment 2). These findings extend the literature on racial prototypicality and categorization by showing that relative prejudice tempers the extent of category competition and response conflict engaged when initially perceiving faces.
Project description:The current research examined the role of the belief in free will on prejudice across Han Chinese and white samples. Belief in free will refers to the extent to which people believe human beings truly have free will. In Study 1, the beliefs of Han Chinese people in free will were measured, and their social distances from the Tibetan Chinese were used as an index of ethnic prejudice. The results showed that the more that Han Chinese endorsed the belief in free will, the less that they showed prejudice against the Tibetan Chinese. In Study 2, the belief of the Han Chinese in free will was manipulated, and their explicit feelings towards the Uyghur Chinese were used as an indicator of ethnic prejudice. The results showed that the participants in the condition of belief in free will reported less prejudice towards Uyghur Chinese compared to their counterparts in the condition of disbelief in free will. In Study 3, white peoples' belief in free will was manipulated, and their pro-black attitudes were measured as an indirect indicator of racial prejudice. The results showed that, compared to the condition of disbelief in free will, the participants who were primed by a belief in free will reported stronger pro-black attitudes. These three studies suggest that endorsement of the belief in free will can lead to decreased ethnic/racial prejudice compared to denial of the belief in free will. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Project description:Outgroup members (e.g., individuals whose racial identity differs from perceivers') are stigmatized in Eastern and Western cultures. However, it remains an open question how specific cultural influences affect stigmatization. In this study, we assessed whether cultural learning (i.e., social information acquired from the people in one's environment) associated with Chinese individuals' relocation to the United States differentiated the response to multiple outgroups. Two types of cultural learning predict diverging responses to outgroups - awareness of stereotypes about different racial outgroups is associated with increased negative affect and cognitive control toward the stereotyped outgroup. Conversely, intergroup contact attenuates those responses, and does so to a greater extent for individuals from Western cultures. As Chinese-Americans would have had more opportunities to have contact with both White and Black individuals (relative to the Chinese participants), we explored their responses to outgroups as well. Because the neural regions associated with stereotyping and intergroup contact have been well-characterized, we used neuroimaging to disentangle these possibilities. Eighteen White American, 18 Chinese-American, and 17 Chinese participants - who had relocated to the United States less than 1 year prior - viewed images of Black and White individuals while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants also completed measures of awareness of cultural stereotypes in the United States about Black and White individuals, implicit bias, and experiences with White and Black individuals. Behaviorally, White American and Chinese-American participants had more intergroup contact with either race than did Chinese participants, but there was no effect of participant group on stereotype knowledge or implicit bias. When viewing faces of White (as compared to Black) individuals while undergoing fMRI, White American (relative to Chinese) participants had attenuated activation in regions of the brain associated with cognitive control, including the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal striatum, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Chinese-Americans' neural response to either race did not differ from White American or Chinese participants. Taken together, outgroup biases seemed to emerge in a culturally-dependent way based on variability in intergroup contact, but not necessarily awareness of stereotypes.
Project description:Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by obesity, with almost two-thirds considered obese based on body mass index. Obesity has been directly linked to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in black women. Therefore, understanding contributors to the genesis of obesity in black women is imperative. While biologic differences likely result in varying obesity prevalence across racial/ethnic groups, behaviors such as post-partum weight retention and limited leisure-time physical activity, may especially contribute to obesity in black women. Black women also appear to be particularly susceptible to cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that can promote weight gain. Therapeutic interventions are being tailored to specifically address these social determinants of health and to foster lifestyle modification; however, more work is needed to understand barriers to behavior change for black women. Knowledge gaps also remain in identifying mechanisms by which pharmacologic and surgical treatments for obesity modify cardiovascular risk in black women.
Project description:This study examined black-white differences in growth of depressive affect using a longitudinal sample of middle-class, suburban US subjects (n = 956) that spanned from adolescence to early adulthood. Specifically, this study examined whether black-white differences in growth of depressive affect shift over time, and the extent to which that shift, if any, was associated with racial differences in the rate and mental health consequences of early adult social roles (e.g., living arrangements, work/college status, and single-parenthood) and socio-economic status (SES). As expected, growth in depressive affect pivoted around the onset of early adulthood, with the trajectory pivoting upward for Black Americans and downward for White Americans. Due to deficits in SES, the relation between challenging early adult social roles - under/unemployment in particular - and growth in depressive affect was more positive for Black Americans. This differential "vulnerability" appears to underlie racial differences in early adult growth (and by connection contribute to racial differences in growth pivot). The extent to which Black Americans were at a greater risk (relative to White Americans) for an upward pivot increased as the number of challenging roles increased. Black Americans facing only optimal early adult social roles were not at a greater risk, while those facing only challenging social roles were at the greatest risk.
Project description:HIV has reached epidemic proportions among African Americans in the USA but certain urban contexts appear to experience a disproportionate disease burden. Geographic information systems mapping in Philadelphia indicates increased HIV incidence and prevalence in predominantly Black census tracts, with major differences across adjacent communities. What factors shape these geographic HIV disparities among Black Philadelphians? This descriptive study was designed to refine and validate a conceptual model developed to better understand multi-level determinants of HIV-related risk among Black Philadelphians. We used an expanded ecological approach to elicit reflective perceptions from administrators, direct service providers and community members about individual, social and structural factors that interact to protect against or increase the risk for acquiring HIV within their community. Gender equity, social capital and positive cultural mores (e.g., monogamy, abstinence) were seen as the main protective factors. Historical negative contributory influences of racial residential segregation, poverty and incarceration were among the most salient risk factors. This study was a critical next step toward initiating theory-based, multi-level community-based HIV prevention initiatives.