On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

On the color line: the social consequences of White/Black biracial self-categorization

Rutgers University, New Brunswick
October 2011
71 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3V9874P

Leigh Solano Wilton

A thesis submitted to the Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Graduate Program in Psychology

Black/White biracial individuals are marginal group members at the periphery of both Black (i.e., low status) and White (i.e., high status) groups. However, scant research has investigated the consequences of self-categorization for how multiracial people are perceived. The proposed research investigated the extent to which perceptions of White/Black biracial targets depend on their self-categorization (i.e., as Black or biracial). Drawing from social identity theory, I also examined whether perceivers’ race and racial identification moderated responses to biracial targets’ self-categorization, as well as the mechanisms that may account for differential responses to biracial targets (e.g., perceptions of loyalty) that guide perceiver’s evaluations of these targets. Consistent with expectations, Black perceivers saw the biracial target as higher in social status. However, only Black (and not White) perceivers positively evaluated the Black self-categorizing target as more competent than the biracial self-categorizing target. The hypothesis that perceivers higher in racial identification would show more favorability towards the Black self-categorizing target than the biracial self-categorizing target was not supported for either Black or White participants. Moreover, the predicted significant three-way interaction of racial identification with race and condition on disloyalty was not found. Thus, racial identification did not moderate these effects.

Read the entire thesis here.

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