Inducing the Use of Racial Labels: The Impact of Defying Colourblind Norms on Explicit Prejudice
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In society today, there exist strong norms against outwardly expressing prejudice and mentioning group differences such as race is often discouraged. Though people who act according to these colourblind norms appear to embrace egalitarianism, behaviour associated with these norms can have adverse effects on subsequent intergroup bias. In particular, research has demonstrated that not acknowledging race can actually increase prejudice (Kawakami et al., in preparation). The current research uses a novel paradigm, related to an ambiguous interracial photograph, to examine the impact of inducing people to use racial labels on subsequent explicit prejudice. Specifically, I investigated whether acknowledging, versus avoiding race reduces bias on the Modern Racism Scale (Study 1) and the Attitude Towards Blacks Scale (Study 2). Furthermore, I examined whether implicit prejudice (Study 1) and External Motivation to Respond Without Prejudice (Study 2) moderate this effect. Implications for race relations and potential future research directions are discussed.