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The psychology of American racism.

Authors
  • Roberts, Steven O1
  • Rizzo, Michael T2
  • 1 Department of Psychology, Stanford University.
  • 2 Department of Psychology, New York University.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American psychologist
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
76
Issue
3
Pages
475–487
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/amp0000642
PMID: 32584061
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

American racism is alive and well. In this essay, we amass a large body of classic and contemporary research across multiple areas of psychology (e.g., cognitive, developmental, social), as well as the broader social sciences (e.g., sociology, communication studies, public policy), and humanities (e.g., critical race studies, history, philosophy), to outline seven factors that contribute to American racism: (a) Categories, which organize people into distinct groups by promoting essentialist and normative reasoning; (b) Factions, which trigger ingroup loyalty and intergroup competition and threat; (c) Segregation, which hardens racist perceptions, preferences, and beliefs through the denial of intergroup contact; (d) Hierarchy, which emboldens people to think, feel, and behave in racist ways; (e) Power, which legislates racism on both micro and macro levels; (f) Media, which legitimize overrepresented and idealized representations of White Americans while marginalizing and minimizing people of color; and (g) Passivism, such that overlooking or denying the existence of racism obscures this reality, encouraging others to do the same and allowing racism to fester and persist. We argue that these and other factors support American racism, and we conclude with suggestions for future research, particularly in the domain of identifying ways to promote antiracism. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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