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SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY AND THE REDUCTION OF INEQUALITY: CAN CROSS-CUTTING CATEGORIZATION REDUCE INEQUALITY IN MIXED-RACE GROUPS?

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Abstract:

A strategy to modify racial inequality in task groups was tested. Based on social identity literature: If members of a group are encouraged to think of other group members as individuals instead of representatives of a larger group, cross-cutting categorization may decrease the effects of race. Thirty groups of one Black woman and two white women, were randomly assigned to either a condition in which group members knew only that some people did better than others on the task (baseline condition), or a condition in which individualization of group members was emphasized (cross-cutting condition). The task was exactly the same in both conditions; only the description of it varied. Relative to the baseline condition, the cross-cutting condition does not significantly decrease the inequality between Black and white group members. Implications of these results for future research on group racial dynamics are considered.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2007.35.4.537

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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