Colorblindness and the motivation to improve intergroup relations: The role of an incongruent status quo
Dr. Jessica Gale (University of Lausanne)
Social psychologists have long debated the implications of treating people as unique individuals for intergroup relations. The present research examines a normative explanation for mixed evidence on the topic by focusing on colorblindness as an approach for managing diversity that suggests people should be treated as individualsindependently of their group membership. To do so, we contrast colorblindness as a future-oriented ideal from a descriptive observation of society’s current functioning (i.e., the status quo). We argue that such an ideal should be associated with a motivation to improve intergroup relations especially when the status quo focuses on groups (incongruent) instead of on individuals (congruent). Three experiments and one preliminary study (2 pre-registered; N = 1201) corroborate this hypothesis using fictitious society paradigms, involving both subjective and objective indicators of the status quo, and three indexes for improving intergroup relations. Results suggest that, despite widespread claims that colorblindness is at the root of group-based tensions and disparities, endorsing such an ideal can be construed as either perpetuating or working to improve such issues, depending on its (in)congruity with the (perceived) status quo. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
The seminar will take place in our seminar room as well as online in this virtual room.