Perception of Subtle Racism: The Role of Group Status and Legitimizing Ideologies 1ψ 7

Hsin Ya Liao, Ying Yi Hong, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying contemporary racism has been problematic as this type of racism, namely subtle racism, is difficult to discern, and the actions in question can be easily justified by other causes. The present study examined how group status and legitimizing ideologies predict perception of subtle racism. White (high status) and Black (low status) college students completed measures of legitimizing ideologies. Later, they watched a video clip on an ambiguous interracial conflict, recalled the clip, and judged whether the situation was attributable to racism. Findings showed that members of the low status groups and/or individuals who were less likely to endorse ideologies were more likely to perceive subtle racism. In addition, social dominance orientation indirectly predicted the perception of subtle racism through system justification legitimizing ideologies. Contrary to our hypothesis, group status did not change the relationship between ideologies and perceptions of subtle racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-266
Number of pages30
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • college students
  • group status
  • legitimizing ideologies
  • race
  • subtle racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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