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Title The Demands of Diversity Messages: Strategic Self-Stereotyping Among Racial Minorities
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Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Washington
Abstract Although multicultural messages value and encourage the expression of group differences, this approach to diversity may ironically constrain racial minorities’ behavior and promote self-stereotyping. Self-stereotyping in multicultural workplaces may be particularly pronounced among weakly racially identified minorities who, compared to strongly identified minorities, are more willing to engage in identity-related self-presentational strategies to obtain desired outcomes. In four studies, online community samples of African American (Studies 1-4; N = 1,055) and White adults (Study 2; N = 1,586), who varied in their strength of racial identification, imagined interviewing at a company that either advocated managing diversity through multiculturalism or colorblindness or had no diversity message. When exposed to the multicultural company, African Americans presented themselves as more stereotypically African American (e.g., athletic and streetwise) than in the colorblind company, but only if they were weakly identified with their racial group. Weakly identified African Americans also felt more anxious and less like they could be themselves at the multicultural company compared to the colorblind company. White participants and strongly racially identified Black participants were unaffected by the company’s diversity message. These findings show that, despite their best intentions, organizations striving to be inclusive may paradoxically create pressure for some racial minorities to remain within the constraints of racial stereotypes, even if this is inconsistent with how they view themselves.
Subjects/Keywords Colorblindness; Diversity; Identity; Multiculturalism; Self-stereotyping; Stereotypes; Psychology; Social psychology; Experimental psychology; psychology
Contributors Kaiser, Cheryl R (advisor)
Language en
Rights Copyright is held by the individual authors.
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:1773/34158
Repository washington
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-08
Note [] Thesis (Ph.D.) – University of Washington, 2015;

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…similarities. Multiculturalism, one of the most common approaches to diversity management, emphasizes and celebrates racial and ethnic differences. Colorblindness, another prominent approach, deemphasizes differences, instead focusing on individual traits and…

…similarities across people (Plaut, 2002). Colorblindness and multiculturalism both view diversity in society through a positive light and advocate for equality across groups, albeit through different approaches. Multicultural models acknowledge racial…

…believe our differences make us stronger, and produce better, more innovative work” (Google, 2015). Colorblindness is one alternative to multiculturalism that instead deemphasizes racial and ethnic characteristics, focusing on individual traits…

…with black stripes. Or black with white stripes. They work together so they won’t be lunch for a lion” (see Plaut, 2002). Benefits of multiculturalism. Emerging research suggests that multiculturalism may be superior to colorblindness, as it…

…imparts several psychological benefits to racial minorities. Not only do minorities prefer multiculturalism over colorblindness (Ryan, Hunt, Weible, Peterson, & Casas, 2007), but organizational multicultural messages also facilitate engagement…

…read a storybook on multiculturalism or colorblindness and then learned about a student who was clearly mistreated due to his race. Participants were more likely to acknowledge the mistreatment as race-related when exposed to multiculturalism as…

…compared to colorblindness, and teachers were then more likely to take appropriate disciplinary action. Drawbacks of multiculturalism. Although most research has focused on the benefits of multiculturalism, it is premature to conclude that it is universally…

…stereotyping of racial minorities (Gutirrez & Unzueta, 2010; Wolsko, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2000). When primed with multiculturalism as opposed to colorblindness, Whites stereotyped African Americans and Latinos more on both positive and negative…

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