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Title:Social identity shifts across nationality and race in response to socio-political events
Author(s):Rosner, Jennifer L.
Director of Research:Hong, Ying-Yi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hong, Ying-Yi
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cohen, Dov; Preston, Jesse L.; Srull, Thomas; Vargas, Patrick T.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social identity
Black Americans
White Americans
Abstract:Two studies investigated the idea of social identity dynamicism, that social identity is flexible, context dependent, and strategic, at the intersection of nationality and race in the United States. In Study 1, following exposure to a stimulus intended to induce feelings of vicarious shame in the American identity, both Black and White Americans indicated their levels of four types of collective self-esteem: public American, public racial, private American, and private racial (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). Findings showed that only Black Americans were able to shift between their national and racial identities in response to American shame, such that the relative valuation of their private racial identity over their private American identity was increased, compared to the control condition. Study 2 extended the idea of a social identity shift to the concept of target-shifting of a racially ambiguous American target. We found that in response to a threatening American identity associated with President Obama, Black Americans high in White American Centrism perceived the President to be physically “Whiter,” compared to Blacks low in White American Centrism. We discuss the apparent differences between the racial groups in both studies as a function of varying degrees of perceived association between the American identity and each of the racial identities (Study 1) and societal norms and constraints at play in the United States (Study 2).
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Jennifer L. Rosner
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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