Toward a social psychology of race and race relations for the twenty-first century

Jennifer A. Richeson*, Samuel R. Sommers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


The United States, like many nations, continues to experience rapid growth in its racial minority population and is projected to attain so-called majority-minority status by 2050. Along with these demographic changes, staggering racial disparities persist in health, wealth, and overall well-being. In this article, we review the social psychological literature on race and race relations, beginning with the seemingly simple question: What is race? Drawing on research from different fields, we forward a model of race as dynamic, malleable, and socially constructed, shifting across time, place, perceiver, and target. We then use classic theoretical perspectives on intergroup relations to frame and then consider new questions regarding contemporary racial dynamics. We next consider research on racial diversity, focusing on its effects during interpersonal encounters and for groups. We close by highlighting emerging topics that should top the research agenda for the social psychology of race and race relations in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-463
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - Jan 4 2016


  • Discrimination
  • Diversity
  • Intergroup relations
  • Racial categorization
  • Racial identity
  • Stereotyping and prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward a social psychology of race and race relations for the twenty-first century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this