Race-Status Associations: Distinct Effects of Three Novel Measures Among White and Black Perceivers

Cydney H. Dupree, Brittany Torrez, Obianuju Obioha, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Race is fraught with meaning, but unequal status is central. Race-status associations (RSAs) link White Americans with high status and Black Americans with low status. RSAs could occur via observation of racially distributed jobs, perceived status-related stereotypic attributes, or simple ranking. Nine samples (N = 3,933) validate 3 novel measures of White = high status/Black = low status RSAs-based on jobs, rank, and attributes. First, RSA measures showed clear factor structure, internal validity, and test-retest reliability. Second, these measures differentially corresponded to White Americans' hierarchymaintaining attitudes, beliefs, and preferences. Potentially based on observation, the more spontaneous Job-based RSAs predicted interracial bias, social dominance orientation, meritocracy beliefs, and hierarchy-maintaining hiring or policy preferences. Preference effects held after controlling for bias and support for the status quo. In contrast, the more deliberate Rank- and Attribute-based RSAs negatively predicted hierarchy-maintaining beliefs and policy preferences; direct inferences of racial inequality linked to preferences for undoing it. Third, Black = low status, rather than White = high status, associations largely drove these effects. Finally, Black Americans also held RSAs; Rank- or Attributebased RSAs predicted increased perceived discrimination, reduced social dominance, and reduced meritocracy beliefs. Although individuals' RSAs vary, only White Americans' Job-based stratifying associations help maintain racial status hierarchies. Theory-guided evidence of race-status associations introduces powerful new assessment tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Hierarchy maintenance
  • Inequality
  • Race-status associations
  • Stereotypes

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