Predicting Whether Multiculturalism Positively or Negatively Influences White Americans' Intergroup Attitudes: The Role of Ethnic Identification

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Abstract

Multiculturalism, or the belief that racial and ethnic differences should be acknowledged and appreciated, has been met with both positive reactions (e.g., decreased prejudice) and negative reactions (e.g., perceptions of threat) from dominant group members. The present research proposes that multiculturalism can either positively or negatively influence White Americans' intergroup attitudes depending on their degree of ethnic identification. In Studies 1 and 2, White Americans primed with multiculturalism exhibited higher social dominance orientation (Study 1) and greater prejudice (Study 2), especially when they identified strongly with their ethnicity. In Study 3, perceptions of threat to group values were found to mediate the relation between multiculturalism, ethnic identification, and prejudice among White Americans. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for threat perceptions, ethnic identification, and conceptions of diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1648-1661
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume36
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • diversity
  • ethnic identity
  • intergroup attitudes
  • multiculturalism
  • threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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