Anything but Race: Avoiding Racial Discourse to Avoid Hurting You or Me


The present research examines how Whites employ strategic colorblindness—the strategic assertion that race should not and/or does not matter—in interracial interactions, and how stereotype threat and concern about non-Whites influence the use of this conversational technique. Because colorblindness can be egalitarian or anti-egalitarian (Knowles, Lowery, Hogan, & Chow, 2009), one must define colorblindness in order to understand how it is employed. Two studies provide evidence that both concerns that racial categorization harms non-Whites and concerns with appearing racist affects the use of strategic color-blindness. Study 1 uses field observations to explore the content of spontaneous colorblind statements and their relationship to stereotype threat. Study 2 manipulates stereotype threat and concerns for non-Whites, revealing that each independently increases Whites’ endorsement of strategic colorblindness relative to control conditions. This research highlights the importance of both studying interracial interactions in field settings and considering how definitions of diversity shape intergroup contexts.

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Goff, P. , Jackson, M. , Nichols, A. & Leone, B. (2013). Anything but Race: Avoiding Racial Discourse to Avoid Hurting You or Me. Psychology, 4, 335-339. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.43A048.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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