Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Frederica Hendricks-Noble

Abstract

Racism in the United States is persistent and its negative effects are widespread. The social hierarchy in the United States positions White people as the dominant culture and Black people, among other races, as a minority culture. Current literature provides insight into explicit and implicit individual expressions of racism; however, very little research clarifies the effects racism has on the continuance and structure of the social race hierarchy. This study utilizes social gender hierarchy research to investigate how racism-induced hostility toward the dominant culture relates to an individual's perception of the stability of the race hierarchy. This quantitative survey study compared a prime versus a non-prime condition. In the prime condition, Black participants (n = 129) were presented with racist statements to elicit a â??hostility toward White individualsâ?? response. A 6-point Likert-type scale quantified participants' perceptions of the stability of the race hierarchy. A one-way between subjects ANOVA was conducted by comparing the perceived stability means as measured by the Race Hierarchy Scale. Contrary to expectation, the prime did not produce a statistically significant change in the perceived stability of the race hierarchy. The data did reveal a chronic individual perception of the race hierarchy as unchanging. This study contributes to positive social change by illuminating social structure aspects and how individual perception functions to maintain the race hierarchy in America. This knowledge will help direct future research, policy makers, the legal system, and the private sector. Attempting to understand the effects of racism from the perspective used in this study, may encourage other researchers to generate novel approaches and methods to combat discrimination.

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