Aversive Racism

“Color Blind or Just Plain Blind”- Dovidio & Gaertner Article

This article by Dovidio and Gaertner directly relates to the discussions we had in class last Tuesday. The first part of this article explains the results and findings from both the study and article we read for Tuesday’s class (On the nature of contemporary prejudice-the third wave (Dovidio, 2001) and Aversive racism and selection decisions (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000)). The previous studies we read dealt with the decisions and rationalizations that aversive racists make. This article also explores interactions between whites and blacks.

In this article, a black participants were placed with a white participants to complete a problem-solving task. The white participant in each pair was either high prejudiced and overtly racist, an aversive racist, or low prejudiced with little unconscious biases against blacks. The main observations made for the groups were their interaction quality and their efficiency performing the task. In summary, results found that blacks paired with an aversive racist partner felt the most uncomfortable and untrustworthy of their partner (in comparison to the groups with white partners who were low or high prejudiced). These groups also took the longest to complete their problem-solving task.

At first I found these results to be surprising. I assumed that the pairs that had a white partner who was an overt racist would have had the most discomfort between partners and the least efficiency while doing the problem-solving task. Why do you think the interactions with aversive racists were “worse” than the interactions with high prejudice partners?