Protesting Racial Hierarchy: Testing a Social Dominance Theory Model of Collective Action among White Americans
Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for psychologists to educate White Americans about the reality of racism and racist violence in the United States in order to enlist White Americans to protest in support of the Civil Rights Movement. While most research on collective action focuses on in-group identity, recent research suggests that social dominancy theory's focus on ideology and intergroup behavior may be more relevant to explain collective action participation among dominant group members. We used latent variable modeling with two samples of White Americans (N = 265 for Study 1; N = 383 for Study 2) to test a social dominance theory (SDT) model of collective action. After observing suppression results in Study 1 centering on the measurement of symbolic racism, Study 2 results supported the importance of social dominance orientation, rejecting racist beliefs, and expressing anger at Black's social disadvantage in understanding White American's collective action willingness to reduce racial inequality. Discussion focuses on White American support for hierarchy-attenuating social policy and advocacy and the utility of SDT in understanding hierarchy-attenuation.
Journal of Social Issues
social dominance, collective action, white people, racism, Civil rights movements, intergroup relations, public demonstrations, psychologists
Stewart, Andrew L. and Tran, Julia, "Protesting Racial Hierarchy: Testing a Social Dominance Theory Model of Collective Action among White Americans" (2018). Psychology. 613.