Violating hypodescent: Do White-identified Black & White Biracials threaten Whites’ social status?
thesisposted on 2016-07-01, 00:00 authored by Olivia L. Holmes
In the present research I expand beyond racial categorization to examine how a Black/White Multiracial person’s personal racial identities shape perceivers’ more substantive reactions to and judgments of them. In particular, a White-identified Multiracial may pose a specific threat to White status on the racial hierarchy by pushing the exclusive group boundaries of Whiteness, leading to negative emotion, concern about other’s holding Whites as a group in lower regard, and a perceived loss of privilege. In Study 1, I investigated how racial identification (White, Black or Biracial) affects White’s experience of racial status threat, moderated by social dominance orientation. Racial status threat did not vary due to identification, however those high in social dominance orientation perceived that others have a more negative image of Whites due to seeing the White-identified target. In Study 2, I tested whether racial identification affects denial of opportunity for the target and the extent to which the target is considered and ingroup member, and if racial status threat can explain the relationship. Multiracial racial identification again did not shift Whites experience of racial status threat as I measured it, and did not explain the relationships between Multiracial racial identification and opportunity denial or ingroup determination. Interestingly, participants did view the target as more of an ingroup member when the target identified as White, but ultimately reported being less likely to give the White-identified target an opportunity. These findings highlight the value of studying how target racial identification impacts perceiver’s views of the status hierarchy and ingroup boundaries.