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Study Shows One Ethnic Group in L.A. May Be More Racist

Study Shows One Ethnic Group in L.A. May Be More Racist

Ethnic differences between negative racial stereotypes.

racial attitude, discrimination, ethnic groups, education, stereotype
First of all, we are of course not talking about all Asians, all Hispanics, all blacks, or all whites. Still, a recent research on racial attitudes does give us some insight into general differences between relatively representative subjects of four ethnic groups living in the US. It was sociologist Geoffrey T. Wodtke, from the University of Michigan, who conducted the study. He was especially interested in how education influences  racial attitudes.

He used data from the 1992–1994 Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality and the 1990–2010 waves of the General Social Survey to look at how different people have different racial stereotypes, different perceptions of discrimination and how they support anti-racist policies. In his analysis he also included the subject’s level of education and the effect this seemed to have on the former perceptions.

It is all very complicated, he concludes, but there are some conclusions to draw. In general, education seems to be associated with a higher awareness of discrimination. On the other hand, a more advanced education doesn’t seem to go hand in hand with support for certain policies,  like racial preferences in hiring decisions and race-targeted job training programs

Then there are also differences between the racial attitudes of the different ethnic groups. In the majority of the participants it seems that education is generally associated with rejection of racial stereotypes. The better educated, the less subjects tend to stereoptye other ethnic groups. But this association  was only detectable in the groups of whites, blacks an American Hispanics. In the group of Asian subjects the level of education did not seem to influence negative racial stereotypes.

It seems that the Asian respondents in this study were overall more negative about other subordinate outgroups, with the Hispanic respondents following behind. For example, in the MCSUI, 76.2 percent of Asians and 66.8 percent of Hispanics said that ‘blacks prefer to live on welfare’. Asian respondents also had negative perceptions of Hispanics: in the MCSUI, 48.8 percent said that ‘Hispanics are unintelligent’.

Wodtke does put these findings in perspective.  “The extremely high levels of negative stereotyping found among Asians in the MCSUI, who are almost entirely from the Los Angeles area”, he writes, “could also be related to heightened racial tensions in that city following the 1992 Rodney King uprising.”


Photo: Flickr,  skittledog

Geoffrey T. Wodtke (2012). The Impact of Education on Intergroup Attitudes Social Psychology Quarterly DOI: 10.1177/0190272511430234

racial attitude, discrimination, ethnic groups, education, stereotype

This post was written by Katja Keuchenius:
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