Racial Hierarchy-based Discrimination in a Multiracial Power Structure

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2023

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Abstract

In our work, we suggest that racial discrimination in hiring decisions can take on different forms. Specifically, we argue that when prejudiced individuals discriminate against Black job candidates, they are not only discriminating because they hold individual negative biases about Black people. They are also – and perhaps primarily – motivated to perpetuate the current racial hierarchy. And, in order to do so, they support hiring candidates – be they Black or White – who will not disrupt a system where White people continue to be systematically advantaged. In this distinct form of discrimination – which we call racial hierarchy-based discrimination, prejudiced individuals can display a preference for hiring a Black candidate who wants to uphold the racial hierarchy over a White candidate who wants to disrupt it. Across eight experiments, we document this type of discrimination. Our results also show evidence for biased evaluations across the racial prejudice spectrum. That is, both low and high prejudice individuals can be strategic in how they pursue their goals of disrupting or maintaining the racial hierarchy. We end with a discussion of how racial hierarchy-based discrimination can lead to the appearance of racial progress, all the while keeping in place a racial power structure that systematically disadvantages Black Americans.

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Goya-Tocchetto, Daniela (2023). Racial Hierarchy-based Discrimination in a Multiracial Power Structure. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29146.

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