Academic Study Finds That Women Perceive That Racists Will Also Be Sexists

A new study led by Diana Sanchez, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, finds that people tend to believe that racism and sexism go hand in hand.

In a series of experiments, Dr. Sanchez and her colleagues gave test subjects profiles that included clues that the person was either sexist or racist. In follow-up questions, the data showed that women tended to believe that someone expressing racist attitudes would also be sexist. White women felt threatened by the sexist profiles, but also felt threatened by the racist ones, assuming they would be sexist, as well. Latino and African-American men believed someone displaying sexist attitudes would also be racist. White men, the researchers found, while recognizing sexist and racist attitudes, did not necessarily feel threatened by them.

Dr. Sanchez explains that “a great deal of psychological research examines whether racism and sexism coexist, and generally speaking this research finds that they do. But what we didn’t know was whether people in stigmatized groups perceived that to be true. Now we know that people perceive and experience stigma in ways that extend beyond their own group.”

Professor Sanchez joined the Rutgers University faculty in 2005. She is a graduate of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and women’s studies from the University of Michigan.

The article, “Stigma by Prejudice Transfer: Racism Threatens White Women and Sexism Threatens Men of Color,” was published on the website of the journal Psychological Science. It may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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