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To Be Liked Versus Respected: Divergent Goals in Interracial Interactions

Authors:
Hilary B. Bergsieker, Princeton University
Jennifer A. Richeson, Yale University
Publication Date:
Jan 2010
Project Programs:
Cultural Contact

Pervasive representations of Blacks and Latinos as unintelligent and of Whites as racist may give rise to divergent impression management goals in interracial interactions. We present studies showing that in interracial interactions racial minorities seek to be respected and seen as competent more than Whites do, whereas Whites seek to be liked and seen as moral more than racial minorities do. These divergent impression management goals are reflected in Whites’ and racial minorities’ self-report responses (Studies 1a, 1b, 2, and 4) and behaviors (Studies 3a and 3b). Divergent goals are observed in pre-existing relationships (Study 2), as well as in live interactions (Studies 3a, 3b, and 4), and are associated with higher levels of negative other-directed affect (Study 4). Implications of these goals for interracial communication and misunderstandings are discussed.

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