Minimizing race, emphasizing individuality: The relationship between support for color-blindness and American views about the self
Siy, John Oliver
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Color-blindness, or the belief that people should minimize their attention to racial and ethnic groups, pervades the American legal system, education system, and organizational context. This dissertation examined how the appeal of color-blindness may be tied to Americans' independent self-construal, or dominant definition of the self as an individual, separate and distinct from others. In Study 1a and 1b, the more people supported color-blindness, the stronger their independent self-construal. This association held across multiple measures of color-blindness even when controlling for individual differences. In Study 2, an experimental manipulation of self-construal revealed some evidence to suggest that people primed with independent self-construal supported color-blindness more than people primed with interdependent self-construal. In Study 3, however, people primed with independent self-construal did not significantly differ in their evaluation of a company with a color-blind policy from people primed with interdependent self-construal. Study 4 then examined the reverse relationship: that support for color-blindness influences self-construal. Participants primed with color-blindness defined themselves more as independent than people primed with multiculturalism. In addition, people primed with color-blindness defined themselves less in terms of their social group memberships than people primed with multiculturalism. This dissertation broadens the current knowledge on color-blindness by demonstrating how it has implications that extend beyond intergroup relations to affect how people think about and defines the self.
- Psychology