Relating color blind racial attitudes, SDO, and JWB 2009 Dissertation

Empirical research found that just world beliefs predicted prejudiced attitudes towards a range of disadvantaged groups, including the poor (Furnham & Gunter, 1984), persons with AIDS (Connors & Heaven, 1990), the elderly (Lipkus & Siegler, 1993), the unemployed (Reichle, Schneider & Montada, 1998), and refugees (Montada, 1998). Therefore, despite many personally healthy functions related to beliefs about the world as just, these beliefs may also lead a person to deny or minimize inequality, and engage in victim derogation.

Lipkus, Dalbert & Siegler (1996) discovered that people believe the world is more just for them personally than in general.

Similar to general just world beliefs, color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation are two constructs related to attitudes and behaviors that promote racism, discrimination and victim derogation. Color-blind racial attitudes, generally defined as “the belief that race should not and does not matter” (Neville, Lilly, Duran, Lee and Browne, 2000, p. 60), [CBRA] have been linked to racial prejudice and racist ideology (Carr, 1997; Neville et al., 2000). Like general beliefs in a just world, color-blind racial attitudes deny social inequalities. When a person denies the importance of race, a distortion and minimization of racism occurs leading to greater levels of racial prejudice (Neville, Coleman, Falcomer & Holmes, 2005). Social dominance orientation (SDO), or “the extent to which one desires that one’s in-group dominate and be superior to out-groups” (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth and Malle, 1994, p.742), [SDO] predicts prejudice and discrimination against members of out-groups (Heaven, Greene, Stones, & Caputi, 2000). Just world beliefs and social dominance orientation both represent ideological beliefs about group inequality. Those who are relatively high in JWB are likely to be motivated to view social inequalities as fair and legitimate. Similarly, those with high SDO have generally positive attitudes towards group-based inequalities (Oldmeadow & Fiske, 2007). In sum, color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation have been linked to negative social consequences similar to those that are associated with endorsing general just world beliefs. Therefore, the current study will examine the relationships between beliefs in a just world, color-blind racial attitudes, and social dominance orientation.

Worthington et al (2008) found moderate relationships between blatant racial issues and institutional discrimination subscales of color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation, and concluded that SDO tends to reflect classic conceptions of overt racism. 

BJW serves an adaptive and protective function in terms of psychological well-being/coping mechanism so masculinity threat induces a protective or coping mechanism meant to restore the threatened gender identity.

whites (and sometimes males) are most likely to BJW relatively advantaged persons have a greater motivation to see the world as fair and just both to explain their own positions, and the positions of less privileged groups (Umberson, 1993)

“variables associated with discriminatory attitudes (SDO, CBRA) relate to JWB”

when an individual ascribes to this belief (CBRA), they are effectively denying the “individual, institutional and cultural manifestations of racism and believe that race has little meaning in people’s lives” (Burkard & Knox, 2004, p. 388).

Color-blind racial attitudes are described by Neville and colleagues (2000, 2001) as
consisting of three parts: (a) the denial of White privilege, (b) the denial of institutional
racism, and (c) the denial of discrimination

Whereas overt racism endorses beliefs about racial superiority and social inequality, color-blind attitudes represent a lack of awareness about racism. In fact, color-blind attitudes have been described as a reflection of contemporary racism (Bonilla-Silva, 2003; Neville et al, 2000). This conceptualization states that believing that race does not matter is problematic because it ultimately perhaps inadvertently perpetuates racism.

Specifically, Neville et al.’s (2000) validation study of the CoBRAS found that participants denied that racism and White privilege exists, as well as rejected
the belief that social policies should be created to eradicate consequences of institutional racism. Furthermore, they reported that the CoBRAS showed good concurrent validity with two measures of racial prejudice. The authors concluded that although color-blind racial attitudes are not the same as racism per se, color-blind racial attitudes imply that one embraces an inaccurate or distorted view of racial and ethnic minorities and race relations. Therefore, similar to racism, the consequences of color-blind racial attitudes may unwittingly promote racial discrimination (Jones, 1997).

With the position that race does not and should not matter, color-blind racial attitudes make more of an implicit statement about White supremacy. Although it does not appear to produce the same level of oppression and negativity as overt racism, this perspective maintains a belief that people have equal access to resources regardless of race (Frankenberg, 1993), denying that racism benefits White individuals (Neville et al, 2001).

As explained by Gushue and Constantine (2007), color-blind racial attitudes act as modern forms of racism by obscuring the impact of White privilege and relate to prejudiced attitudes that rationalize oppression. Essentially, by denying the importance of race, color-blind racial attitudes encourage the status quo and minimize efforts at social change (Gushue & Constantine, 2007).

For whites, adopting a color-blind perspective and refusing to acknowledge racial inequalities in society serves to protect their afforded privileges.  This denial of systemic racism may contribute to a “blame the victim” mentality, which helps to preserve the status quo.

Beliefs about inequality and superiority are termed “hierarchy-legitimizing myths” (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth & Malle, 1994). Examples of this ideology include ethnocentrism, racism, and sexism. Hierarchy legitimizing myths serve to justify discrimination and oppression because they allow individuals and social institutions to make determinations about social allocation, thus creating and ultimately maintaining inequalities in societies (Pratto et al., 1994). This group-based hierarchy leads to at least one group that is dominant over others and gains a disproportionate amount of privilege, while other groups are assigned an inferior position.

Essentially, it is the approval of hierarchical relationships between social groups. Social dominance orientation has been described as the single most important variable in accounting for the acceptance or rejection of beliefs that promote inequality  Guimond, Dambrun, Michinov & Duarte, 2003). SDO, therefore, acts as a motivating factor that rationalizes social inequalities, and it has been found to predict prejudice towards out-groups and justify discrimination against members of these groups (Heaven, Greene, Stones, & Caputi, 2000)

Specifically, social dominance orientation had a negative relationship with concern for others, communality, tolerance, beliefs about sharing resources, and altruism. Secondly, it was strongly and consistently related to several hierarchy-legitimizing myths, including anti-Black racism, nationalism, sexism, denying equal opportunities, patriotism, cultural elitism, conservatism, and beliefs in a just worldOther researchers have confirmed these initial findings, particularly in relation to showing that SDO predicts prejudiced attitudes (Altemeyer, 1998; Esses, Jackson & Armstrong, 1998; McFarland, 1999; Michinov, Dambrun, Guimond & Meot, 2005).

The GSM model confirmed predictions that people in a dominant position (a) score
higher on SDO than people in lower social positions, and (b) display higher levels of
prejudice than others. In their explanation of SDO as a mediator, Guimond et al. (2003)
stated that acquiring a position in the social structure generates higher levels of prejudice, based on the extent to which their new position increases or decreases social dominance orientation. These researchers concluded that a dominant social position has an effect on  prejudice, and SDO (as a measure of ideological beliefs) is the mechanism accounting for this effect.

In addition, Sidanius & Pratto (1999) reported a number of studies showing that Whites have higher scores on SDO than Blacks. Overall, White people benefit the most economically and politically from social hierarchies, which would lead them to be more likely to endorse SDO than minority status groups.

(Worthington, Navarro, Loewy, & Hart, 2008). Specifically, they found that social dominance orientation was moderately correlated with the blatant racial issues and institutional discrimination subscales of the CoBRAS, but not the racial privilege subscale. They concluded that these results indicated that SDO tends to reflect “classic conceptions of overt racism” (p.17).

conclusions drawn by research from Worthington et al. (2008) about the
relationship between SDO-CoBRAS may indicate that aspects of these two variables
could factor together as a racism factor. Specifically, these researchers stated that the
moderate correlation between social dominance orientation with the blatant racial issues and institutional discrimination subscales of the CoBRAS indicated that SDO tends to reflect classic conceptions of overt racism. Given that researchers (i.e. Neville et al., 2000, 2001) maintain that color-blind racial attitudes are actually a reflection of “modern racism” rather than overt racism, it would be relevant to empirically test the factor structure of these variables.

Results: three different factors that are related (BJW, SDO, CBRA)

Social dominance orientation is an ideology that promotes hierarchy-legitimizing myths, and individuals with a high level of social dominance orientation may become members of institutions that maintain or increase social inequality (Pratto et al., 1994). It is not surprising then that Institutional Discrimination, the color-blind facet that taps into an unawareness of the implications of institutional discrimination, crossloaded with social dominance orientation.

Worthington et al. (2008), who found a correlation between social dominance orientation and the Institutional Discrimination and Blatant Racial Issues of color-blind racial attitudes, concluded that social dominance  orientation reflects “classic” conceptions of overt racism. In addition, Pratto et al. (1994) found that social dominance orientation was correlated with anti Black racism, anti-Arab racism, and “modern” racism, concluding that social dominance orientation is related to ethnic prejudice. It may be argued then that social dominance orientation is a hierarchy-legitimizing ideology that reflects racism.

The difference between SDO and CBRA exists because, unlike social dominance
orientation, the color-blind perspective does not necessarily make overt claims about
White superiority and instead holds the view that race does not and should not matter
(Gushue & Constantine, 2007)



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