Research shows why understanding the source of discrimination matters.
If the United States is a melting pot for racial and ethnic diversity, the pot seems to be boiling over in this presidential election. Whether racism is on the rise, there is no question that attitudes toward racial and ethnic prejudice are front and center in the U.S. political debate and activism movements.
Now, a new study offers a fresh way to analyze and perhaps defuse racial hostility. The key: Find out whether people believe that discrimination is mainly intentional or unintentional.
If people believe that discrimination reflects intentional racism, the study finds, they are more likely to favor a “colorblind” approach that urges people to “look beyond differences” and focus on common purposes. Such an approach is akin to dressing everyone in the same uniform and having them march to the same drumbeat as a means to promote unity.