Essentializing ethnicity: Identification constraint reduces diversity interest

Tiane L. Lee, Leigh S. Wilton, Sau Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present research investigates the effects of a subtle essentialist cue: restricting individuals to identify with only one ethnicity. Although this constraint is mundane and commonly used in everyday life, it sends a message of essentialized group differences. Three studies illustrate the harmful impact of this essentialist cue on diversity. Studies 1a and 1b show that it decreases Asian-Americans' desire to participate in ethnicity-related activities. Study 2 reveals that it reduces essentialist European-Americans' desire for friendship with a minority target. Study 3 illustrates the mechanism through which an essentialist cue reduces intergroup contact, with perceivers' chronic beliefs moderating this effect. Together, these findings demonstrate the powerful impact of the seemingly small act of how we ask people to identify with an ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Cues
ethnicity
friendship
everyday life
ethnic group
Asian Americans
minority
contact
Ethnic Groups
Group
Research

Keywords

  • Asian-American
  • Diversity
  • Essentialism
  • Ethnicity
  • European-American
  • Multiculturalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Essentializing ethnicity : Identification constraint reduces diversity interest. / Lee, Tiane L.; Wilton, Leigh S.; Kwan, Sau.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 55, 2014, p. 194-200.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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