Disrupting Beliefs in Racial Progress: Reminders of Persistent Racism Alter Perceptions of Past, But Not Current, Racial Economic Equality

Ivuoma N. Onyeador*, Natalie M. Daumeyer, Julian M. Rucker, Ajua Duker, Michael W. Kraus, Jennifer Anne Richeson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although there has been limited progress toward economic equality between Americans over the past half-century, many Americans are largely unaware of the persistence of economic racial disparities. One intervention for this widespread ignorance is to inform White Americans of the impact of racism on the outcomes of Black Americans. In two studies, we attempted to improve the accuracy of Whites’ perceptions of racial progress and estimates of contemporary racial economic equality. Reminding White Americans about the persistence of racial disparities produced smaller overestimates of how much progress had been made toward racial economic equality between 1963 and 2016. Rather than modifying overestimates of contemporary racial economic equality, participants who read about disparities assessed the past as more equitable than participants who did not. We discuss implications of these findings for efforts to address Whites’ misperceptions of racial economic equality and to challenge narratives of American racial progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • racial economic inequality
  • racial progress
  • racism
  • reminders of racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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