Confronting for the Greater Good: Are Confrontations that Address the Broad Benefits of Prejudice Reduction Taken Seriously?
Drury, Benjamin James
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This dissertation examines whether confronting prejudice for the greater good - confronting in a way that conveys the benefits of prejudice reduction to groups and institutions other than the targets of prejudice - can help targets of prejudice be taken more seriously by members of the perpetrating group. This dissertation first tested whether targets of prejudice are taken less seriously when they confront than members of the perpetrating group (i.e. allies). Two studies demonstrate that members of the perpetrating group (i.e., men, Whites) take confrontations by targets of prejudice (i.e., women, Blacks) less seriously than confrontations by allies and that these reactions may be explained by a tendency to attribute targets' confrontations to internal causes (i.e., tendencies to overreact). This dissertation next tested whether confronting for the greater good helps targets of prejudice to be taken more seriously when confronting. Four follow-up studies suggested that targets of prejudice were taken just as seriously as allies when confronting for the greater good. However, these latter experiments failed to replicate the effect that targets of prejudice who confront without using the greater good strategy are taken less seriously than allies who engage in the same confrontation. However, a meta-analysis of all studies demonstrated, across studies, confrontations by targets of prejudice were taken less seriously than confrontations by allies, while confrontations for the greater good were taken equally seriously for targets of prejudice and allies. As such, the individual studies in this dissertation may have failed to demonstrate the predicted effects due to a lack of power. This dissertation thus suggests that confronting for the greater good is one strategy that might help targets of prejudice to be taken seriously when they confront, although further research is needed to better understand the boundary conditions of this effect and should explore other strategies prejudice confronters might also use to be taken more seriously.
- Psychology