The threat of a majority-minority U.S. alters white Americans' perception of race.

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Date: Mar. 2022
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 324 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Demographic shift; Majority-minority; Status threat; Race perception; Hypodescent Abstract Racial minorities will soon outnumber white Americans in the U.S. Prior research suggests that this demographic shift is likely to increase white peoples' feelings of threat and anti-minority discrimination. But might this demographic shift also alter who is considered a minority in the first place? We tested whether knowledge of an impending "majority-minority" shift in the U.S. would increase threat to white status, leading white perceivers to see mixed-race faces as minorities rather than white--a strategy historically used to preserve white status in the American racial hierarchy. In an initial correlational study, white participants who self-reported greater white status threat perceived mixed-race faces as more Latino than white (Study 1). As compared to those in a control condition, white participants in Studies 2--5 who read about the U.S. demographic shift reported greater white status threat and exhibited reduced perceptual thresholds for categorizing mixed-race faces as Latino, Black, and "not white." A mediation analysis across studies suggests that the status threat white participants experienced from the demographic shift may have lowered their threshold for seeing mixed-race faces as minorities. Our results indicate that the threat of demographic change alters race perception in a manner that increases the number of people who are seen as minorities and who are, therefore, more vulnerable to discrimination. Author Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA * Corresponding author at: 211 Uris Hall, Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Article History: Received 25 May 2021; Revised 12 November 2021; Accepted 30 November 2021 (miscellaneous) Editor: Jarret Crawford (footnote)[white star] This paper has been recommended for acceptance by Dr Jarret Crawford. (footnote)1 Suzy Park is now at Columbia University. (footnote)2 Jesse Walker is now at The Ohio State University. (footnote)3 Ari Lisner is now at The New York Times. Byline: Amy R. Krosch [amy.krosch@cornell.edu] (*), Suzy J. Park (1), Jesse Walker (2), Ari R. Lisner (3)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A690060602