Biological Conceptions of Race and the Motivation to Cross Racial Boundaries

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Abstract

The present studies demonstrate that conceiving of racial group membership as biologically determined increases acceptance of racial inequities (Studies 1 and 2) and cools interest in interacting with racial outgroup members (Studies 3–5). These effects were generally independent of racial prejudice. It is argued that when race is cast as a biological marker of individuals, people perceive racial outgroup members as unrelated to the self and therefore unworthy of attention and affiliation. Biological conceptions of race therefore provide justification for a racially inequitable status quo and for the continued social marginalization of historically disadvantaged groups.

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