The Same, Yet Different: Understanding the Perceived Acceptability of Redface and Blackface

Julisa J. Lopez*, Arianne E. Eason, Stephanie A. Fryberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In recent years, several high-profile individuals were sanctioned (e.g., fired) when photos of them dressed in blackface surfaced. Yet, every weekend during sports seasons, fans dress in redface to support teams with Native mascots. Given the observed discrepancy, five studies examined whether and why the perceived acceptability of these two racialized representations differs. Across varying methods and designs, we found that redface was perceived as more acceptable than blackface. The differential acceptability was explained by the extent to which people believe that Native (vs. Black) Peoples: 1) largely do not exist within contemporary social contexts (i.e., social erasure) and 2) experience less racism. The results suggest that eliminating racialized representations requires understanding the role that sociocultural factors play in sustaining discrimination and prejudice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-709
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Black Peoples
  • Native Peoples
  • racism minimization
  • social erasure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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