Ignoring history, denying racism: Mounting evidence for the Marley hypothesis and epistemologies of ignorance
In demonstration of the Marley hypothesis, Nelson, Adams, and Salter showed that differences in critical historical knowledge (i.e., knowledge of past racism) and motivation to protect group esteem predicted present-day racism perceptions among Whites and Blacks attending different, racially homogenous universities. The present Study 1 conceptually replicates these findings among Whites and Blacks attending the same racially diverse university. Consistent with previous findings, Whites (vs. Blacks) displayed less critical historical knowledge, explaining their greater denial of systemic racism. Moreover, stronger racial identity among Whites predicted greater systemic racism denial. A brief Study 2 intervention boosts Whites’ racism perceptions. People who learned the critical history of U.S. housing policy (vs. a control group) acknowledged more systemic racism. The present work interrupts seemingly normal and neutral dominant perspectives, provides mounting evidence for an epistemologies of ignorance framework, and suggests that learning critical history can help propel anti-racist understandings of the present.
Social Psychological and Personality Science
Bonam, Courtney M.; Nair Das, Vinoadharen; Coleman, Brett R.; and Salter, Phia, "Ignoring history, denying racism: Mounting evidence for the Marley hypothesis and epistemologies of ignorance" (2019). Psychology. 255.