Search TESS:

.

Is the Impending Majority-Minority United States Seen as a System Threat to White Americans?


Download data and study materials

Download proposal

 

Principal Investigator(s):

Maureen Craig
Northwestern University
Email:macraig@u.northwestern.edu
Home page:https://sites.google.com/site/maureencraigsite/Home

Jennifer A. Richeson
Northwestern University
Email:jriches@northwestern.edu
Home page: http://www.psychology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/profiles/jennifer-richeson.html

Sample size: 620
Field period: 3/13/2012-6/7/2012


Abstract:

Recent Census Bureau projections indicate that racial/ethnic minorities will comprise over 50% of the US population by 2042, effectively creating a so-called "majority-minority" nation. We explore how presenting information about these changing racial demographics influences White Americans' racial attitudes and expressed policy endorsement. Results of this experiment reveal that exposure to the changing US racial demographics evokes the expression of both greater racial bias, even toward racial minority groups that are not considered primarily responsible for the dramatic increases in the non-White (i.e., racial minority) population, as well as greater endorsement of political conservatism. Perceived threat to White Americans' societal status mediates the effects of the racial shift information on racial attitudes and conservative ideology endorsement. Taken together, the results suggest that rather than ushering in a more tolerant future, the increasing diversity of the nation may actually yield more intergroup hostility and a widening partisan divide.

Hypotheses:

1) We sought to explore how making the changing racial demographics salient influences White Americans' expressed racial attitudes and conservative policy endorsement.


2) We sought to examine potential mechanisms (e.g., system threat, perceived uncertainty, group status threat) to the effects of the changing demographics on racial attitudes and conservatism.


3) We examined whether making the changing demographics salient leads to greater conservatism in only race-relevant domains (e.g., immigration policy), or whether a more general conservative shift occurs.

Experimental Manipulations:

Participants were randomly assigned to read one of two vignettes. For half of participants, the changing racial demographics of the US were made salient with a short article about projections that ethnic/racial minorities will comprise a majority of the US populace by 2042 (US racial shift condition). Participants in the control condition read about the growth in geographic mobility in the US.

Key Dependent Variables:

Perceived system threat, perceived uncertainty, perceived group status threat, racial identification, policy preferences, political attitudes, and racial attitudes.

Summary of Findings:

Results of this experiment reveal that exposing White Americans to the changing US racial demographics evokes the expression of both greater racial bias, even toward racial minority groups that are not considered primarily responsible for the dramatic increases in the non-White (i.e., racial minority) population, as well as greater endorsement of political conservatism. Perceived threat to White Americans' societal status mediates the effects of the racial shift information on racial attitudes and conservative ideology endorsement.

References

Craig, M. A., & Richeson, J. A. (in press). On the precipice of a "majority-minority" America: Perceived status threat from the racial demographic shift affects White Americans' political ideology. Psychological Science.

Craig, M. A., & Richeson, J. A. (in press). More diverse yet less tolerant? How the increasingly-diverse racial landscape affects White Americans' racial attitudes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


Copyright © 2014, TESS