Does Racial Phenotypicality Bias Apply to Black Women? Exploring the Intersection of Racial Phenotypes and Gender in Stereotyping of Black Women.
Abstract: A limited amount of social psychological research on racial
stereotyping and prejudice of Black Americans have considered the role of gender in these
processes. Such is also the case with research on racial phenotypicality bias (Maddox,
2004)--the notion that within racial group variation in features indicative of race can
result in increased stereotyping of group members with more o... read moref these features relative to
group members with fewer of these features. This dissertation addresses a void in racial
phenotypicality bias research by assessing stereotypic perceptions of Black women as a
function of racial phenotypes (Afrocenrtric features). In line with previous evidence of
racial phenotypicality bias toward Black men, I hypothesized that high Afrocentric Black
women would be stereotyped to a greater degree than low Afrocentric Black women. In
Experiment 1 participants evaluated the likelihood that several traits and behaviors
stereotypic of Blacks as a racial group were characteristic of Black female targets varying
in Afrocentricity. Analyses revealed relatively similar levels of stereotyping of high and
low Afrocentric Black women, providing inconclusive evidence of racial phenotypicality bias
toward Black women. Experiments 2 and 3 address the potential insensitivity of the measure
used in Experiment 1 to assess stereotypic evaluations of Black women by identifying
stereotypes associated with Black women specifically (Experiment 2) and reexaming racially
phenotypicality bias toward Black women in light of these stereotypes (Experiment 3). Akin
to Experiment 1, results of Experiment 3 provided inconsistent evidence of racial
phenotypicality bias toward Black women, suggesting that racial phenotypes may not
influence perceptions of Black women and Black men in the same manner. Theoretical
considerations for the intersectional influence of racial phenotypes and gender on
perceptions of Black women are addressed in the general discussion.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Keith Maddox.
Committee: Samuel Sommers, Heather Urry, and Phillip Goff.
Keyword: Psychology.read less