White Racial Attitudes and White Empathy: The Moderation of Openness to Diversity

Ruth Chu Lien Chao, Meifen Wei, Lisa Spanierman, Joseph Longo, Dayna Northart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

A key step toward the actualization of social justice is understanding under what circumstances (i.e., high vs. low openness to diversity [OTD]) non-Latino Whites in each White racial identity attitude status show empathy toward targets of racism. Among a sample of 252 self-identified non-Latino White students, we found moderating effects of OTD. Specifically, for White undergraduates in the two least sophisticated racial identity statuses (i.e., Contact and Disintegration), those who were more open to diversity remained high on White Empathy regardless of their levels of Contact/Disintegration; conversely, those who were less open to diversity demonstrated less White Empathy. In addition, Whites in the last two statuses (i.e., Pseudo-Independence and Autonomy) showed that those who were more open to diversity still remained high on White Empathy regardless of their levels of Pseudo-Independence/Autonomy. However, for those who were less open to diversity, higher levels of Pseudo-Independence/Autonomy were associated with higher levels of empathy toward racism. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-120
Number of pages27
JournalThe Counseling Psychologist
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • White empathy
  • White racial identity development
  • White students
  • diversity attitudes
  • racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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