The Impact of Reminders of Racial Inequality and Ethnic Identification on Perceptions of Racial Protest Groups

Faculty Sponsor

Geoffrey Wetherell


Arts and Sciences


Psychology Department

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Major and colleagues (2016) describe ethnic identification as the extent to which race or ethnicity is a central aspect to one’s identity. Furthermore, when an individual is highly identified with a group, they may not oppose systems of inequality from which their group benefits. This is because no group wants to admit to having unequal advantages to which their success can be contributed (Branscombe et al., 2007). When highly ethnically identified White participants were told of an upcoming racial shift in which the national population of non-White racial groups will exceed that of Whites before the middle of this century, it led to an increased sense of group status threat, increased support for presidential candidate Donald Trump as well as anti-immigration policies (Major et al., 2016). The goal of the present study is to examine the interactive relationship between reminders of racial inequality and White ethnic identification on support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and All Lives Matter (ALM) movements among White participants. Although such a relationship may be mediated by group status threat, this study also aims to examine additional mechanisms that could explain these relationships should they occur such as colorblind ideology, guilt, and attitudes towards Blacks. I expect that participants low in ethnic identification will show higher levels of support for BLM when reminded of racial inequality than in the control condition. Furthermore, participants high in ethnic identification will show lower levels of support of the BLM movement when reminded of racial inequality. I expect this interaction to be mediated by White guilt, colorblind ideology, and attitudes towards Blacks.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I am a current senior Psychology and Spanish Double Major. I will be attending Purdue University in the fall pursuing my PhD in Social Psychology. My research interests include stereotype threat, implicit/explicit biases, and prejudice reduction strategies. My interest in this topic stems from continued discrimination against people of color and the use of racial protest movements to draw greater awareness.

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