Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Stockdale, Margaret

Second Advisor

Habib, Reza

Abstract

This study examined perceptions among non-racists, aversive racists, and blatant racists of differentially-performing African-American employees and the effects of the evaluation manipulation on future hiring decisions of an African-American applicant. Using a procedure for categorizing participants into one of these three racism groups, which utilized both implicit and explicit measures of racism, an internet-based sample (n = 221) rated the job performance of a European- or African-American incumbent law associate in a positive or mediocre performance condition and then provided performance ratings of the incumbent associate. Participants also evaluated a moderately-qualified African-American's hireability. Racism group, incumbent performance, and incumbent race were hypothesized to interact to differentially affect mediocre-performing African-American incumbent performance ratings and African-American applicant hireability and qualification ratings. The hypothesized three-way interactions were not significant. However, a significant two-way interaction of incumbent race X incumbent performance was found for incumbent performance ratings, F(1, 191) = 6.06, p = .015, ηp2 = .031, and African-American applicant hireability, F(1, 191) = 7.31, p = .007, ηp2 = .037. Hierarchical regression analyses probing the interactions showed that the positive-performing African-American incumbent's performance was rated significantly higher than the positive-performing European-American's performance, simple slope = .13, SE = .10, t = 2.10, p = .037. Participants also rated an African-American job applicant's hireability lower after viewing a mediocre-performing African-American incumbent, as compared to a mediocre-performing European-American incumbent, simple slope = -.18, SE = .14, t = -2.36, p = .019. These findings are consistent with the theoretical tenets of aversive racism. This study also explored the political ideologies of non-racists, aversive racists, and blatant racists. Using chi-square analysis, the political ideologies (conservative or liberal) of the three racist groups were significantly different, χ2 (2) = 43.03, p < .001. The majority of non-racists and aversive racists identified as liberal, whereas the majority of blatant racists identified as conservative. Although several key hypotheses were not supported, this study did provide further distinctions between aversive racists, blatant racists, and non-racists. Although differences were not found between the racism groups, the pattern of findings is suggestive of aversive racism. Furthermore, the finding that aversive racists were predominantly liberal supported previous findings concerning aversive racists' political ideologies.

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