Racists are assumed to be sexist and sexists assumed racist

Racists are assumed to be sexist and sexists assumed racistWhite women feel threatened by racist attitudes, and black and Latino men feel threatened by sexist attitudes, a psychological study has found.

Racist and sexist beliefs are seen as going hand in hand, so prejudiced statements directed at one stigmatised group are seen as a threat to people in different groups that typically experience prejudice, according to a study published in a paper in the journal Psychological Science. The results come from a series of five online and laboratory psychological experiments on more than 300 white, black and Latino men and white women in the US.

What racism and sexism have in common, the study authors say, is social dominance orientation. People who show either of these prejudices tend to have a personality trait where they show a preference for inequality if it leads to one group becoming dominant over another.

In an online study, 152 white women and 105 white men were given what they were told were the answers to a questionnaire from a previous study participant, and were asked their impressions of them based on their answers. They were the most likely to expect gender-based stigma from a person who gave sexist answers to the questionnaire. They were the next most likely to expect stigma from someone who gave racist answers, and were least likely to expect stigma from those who gave neutral answers.

The white men in the study were very slightly more likely to expect sexist behaviour from the person giving sexist answers, but the effect was very small compared with the white women's expectations.

In a second study, 57 black and Latino men and 64 white men were presented with questionnaire answers that showed sexist answers or neutral answers. The black and Latino men were almost twice as likely to anticipate unfair treatment based on the sexist questionnaire answers than the white men. They were also about 2.5 times more likely to expect stigma based on sexist answers than the white men were.

Experiments based on chat-room-style interaction with an evaluator and a laboratory study gave similar results.

"Stigma transfer occurred because people have a lay understanding of the monolithic qualities of prejudice, namely, they perceive racists and sexists as having a greater social dominance orientation than other people," the authors, led by Diana Sanchez of Rutgers University in the US, wrote in the study.

"This is an important observation because it suggests that seemingly specific prejudiced attitudes can be applied broadly and across identities." -
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