Racism, Ideology, and Affirmative Action Revisited: The Antecedents and Consequences of "Principled Objections" to Affirmative Action

Christopher Federico, University of Minnesota
Publication Date:
Jan 2002
Project Programs:
Cultural Contact

In 2 studies, the antecedents and consequences of "principled objections" to affirmative action (specific, "race-neutral" reasons for opposing the policy) among Whites were examined. In Study 1, data from a probability sample of Los Angeles adults indicated the following: (1) that principled-objection endorsement was driven not merely by race-neutral values but also by dominance-related concerns like racism; (2) that principled objections mediated the effects of group dominance; and (3) that education strengthened-rather than attenuated-the relationship between dominance-related concerns and principled objections, whereas it left the relationship between race-neutral values and the latter essentially unchanged. In Study 2, the education findings were conceptually replicated in a panel study of undergraduates: The completion of additional years of college boosted the correlation between racism and principled objections, whereas it had no effect on the predictive power of conservatism. These results provide support for a general group-dominance approach, which suggests that factors like racism continue to shape White opposition to race-targeted policies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)


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