We hypothesized that varying the race and prejudice level of a famous individual would alter participants' reactions to the individual, evaluation of the individual, and participants' performance on numerous measures of racism. One-hundred and fourteen White undergraduate students participated in a 2 x 2 (race of the famous individual: black or white x prejudice level of the individual's statement: prejudiced or non-prejudiced) independent groups factorial design. Our results showed that, for high-prejudiced famous figures, participants had more negative reactions toward the White individual than toward the Black, and felt significantly guiltier after reading the White individual's statement than after reading the Black's. Further, the participants expressed less prejudice after being exposed to the high-prejudiced White individual than when exposed to the low-prejudiced White individual, contrary to our predictions. These results demonstrate that exposure to extreme opinions of high-prejudiced in-group members may actually reduce the expression of racism.
I would like to thank Tamara Brown and Margo Monteith for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
Sharp, Lindsay B.
"The Effects of Race and Prejudice Level on the Influence of Famous Figures,"
Vol. 2, Article 11.
Available at: http://uknowledge.uky.edu/kaleidoscope/vol2/iss1/11