Benevolent Racism? The Impact of Target Race on Ambivalent Sexism
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations
Two studies investigated whether benevolent sexism is differentially applied based on a woman’s race. Study 1 demonstrated that participants expressed more benevolent sexism to White females than Black females when given no other information besides race. Study 2 introduced positive (chaste) and negative (promiscuous) sexually subtyped behaviors in addition to female race. Under these conditions, participants directed more benevolent sexism at chaste Black women rather than chaste White women, consistent with shifting standards theory. Despite receiving more benevolent sexism, chaste Black women did not receive more positive evaluations overall. Across both studies, expressions of hostile sexism did not differ by race. Results suggest that race may function as a subtype to elicit benevolent sexism contingent on behavior. Black women who follow traditional gender norms may be overcompensated for their conformity with benevolent sexism, but not receive more positive benefits
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McMahon, J. M., & Kahn, K. B. (2016). Benevolent racism? The impact of target race on ambivalent sexism. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(2), 169–183.