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Although social sanctions have made it unacceptable to express many forms of prejudice, for some, class-based antipathy is still an accepted form of prejudice. The current work investigated prejudice against White people from a low socioeconomic (SES) background and tested the hypothesis that White peoples' often negative reactions to low SES ingroup members is the result of a perceived threat to the ingroup's status. Pilot data suggest that White people have distinctly negative attitudes toward low SES White people. In Study 1 a racial categorization task revealed that White people have difficulty classifying the race of low SES White targets. Study 2 suggests the White people link low SES ingroup members with threats to the ingroup's status. In Study 3, among White participants who strongly identified with their race, status threat enhanced a desire for interpersonal distance from an ostensibly low SES White (but not low SES Black) individual. This research demonstrates one pathway through which concerns with status increase class-based prejudice.
A Dissertation submitted to the Psychology Department in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
E. Ashby Plant, Professor Directing Dissertation; Albert Stiegman, University Representative; Jon K. Maner, Committee Member; Joyce Ehrlinger, Committee Member; Thomas Joiner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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