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The Subtlety of White Racism.

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Final rept.,

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A series of experiments examined the anti-black attitudes of whites so as to test a proposed, subtle, indirect attitudinal process by which blacks and other minorities may be victimized while allowing whites to avoid a sense of personal responsibility for these consequences and even maintain an egalitarian self-image. Generally, each experiment indicates that whites are more likely to discriminate against blacks in which failure to response positively could be attributable to factors other than race. The major findings include 1. White bystanders are more likely to misattribute emergency generated arousal to a placebo than to an unambiguous emergency when the victim is black than when the victim is white. Hence, black victims were helped less readily when misattribution of arousal was possible. When bystanders did not have the opportunity to misattribute arousal, black and white victims were helped equally. 2. Bystanders alone, help black and white victims equally. However, when other bystanders are believed to be available, bystanders diffuse responsibility more readily and thus help less frequently for black than white victims. Heart-rate changes is related to helping and the pattern of heart-rate change parallels the helping behavior measures. 3. White bystanders are more susceptible to conformity pressures to remain inactive during emergencies involving black than white victims. 4. Whites accept help that is offered as frequently from a black partner as from a white partner. However, when help must be actively solicited, whites solicit help less frequently from black than from white partners. 5. Whites respond relatively negatively to black supervisors, regardless of the supervisors competence.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology

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