Symbolic Racism - Evidence


Bobocel et al. (1998) found that prejudice can be rationalized as a concern for justice. Opposition to preferential Affirmative Action programs (those that assign a larger weight to demographic and give preference to target group members) was uniquely predicted by an individual’s belief in merit principles. That is, regardless of prejudice level, individuals tend to oppose preferential treatment programs because they violate traditional norms of meritocracy. However, the higher an individual’s level of prejudice, the more likely he was to construe an undefined Affirmative Action program (e. g. not necessarily preferential) as violating the merit principle and, in turn, oppose the undefined Affirmative Action program. These high-prejudice individuals were able to rationalize their prejudice as a concern for justice, although no traditional justice norms had been explicitly violated. In this way, symbolic racism functions through rationalization as a concern for traditional norms without conscious awareness.

Read more about this topic:  Symbolic Racism

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