Thou shalt not discriminate: How emphasizing moral ideals rather than obligations increases whites' support for social equality.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol 47(3), May 2011, 562-571

By Serena Does, Belle Derks, & Naomi Ellemers

Abstract: An important step toward reducing group-based disparities in society is creating support for equality among advantaged group members (e.g., Whites and men). The current research examined how presenting social equality between ethnic groups in terms of moral ideals (i.e., equal treatment) vs. moral obligations (i.e., non-discrimination) affected the attitudes of Whites (students in Study 1, N =45 and 2, N =44 and employees in Study 3a, N =67 and Study 3b, N =62) toward various social equality issues. It was found that participants in the moral ideals condition reported more activation rather than inhibition tendencies regarding equality (Study 1), were more supportive of affirmative action (Study 2), indicated lower levels of social identity threat, and were more favorable toward cultural diversity which resulted in greater prioritization of equality (Study 3a) than those in the moral obligation condition. These effects did not arise when the ideals/obligations distinction was applied to a nonmoral domain (i.e., competence, Study 3b), underlining the central argument that these processes are specific to morality. The broader theoretical implications for morality and intergroup research are discussed.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011 by agomberg
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