The Roles of Stereotypes and Culture on Public Confrontations of Discrimination

Open Access
Lee, Elizabeth A.
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Janet Swim, Thesis Advisor
  • cultural and ethnic differences
  • confronting discrimination
  • stereotypes
Stereotypes of Black and Asian women’s assertiveness behavior and cultural norms that guide behavior during a conflict were examined in a study on Black and Asian women’s responses to discrimination. Explanations of the behavior of targets of discrimination can be fraught with misunderstandings depending on whether one is basing their judgment on a stereotype or on the cultural norms for that specific group. In Study 1, Whites were asked to report their stereotypes of Black and Asian women’s likely reactions to a racist and a rude perpetrator. Results showed Whites perceived Blacks as more likely to get offended, to confront, to get angry, and to be expressive of their feelings than Asians, regardless of the type of comment they were subjected to. Mediation analyses showed perceived offense mediated group differences in expected confronting. Study 2 was conducted with Black and Asian women in a high impact lab study where they were subjected to either a racist or rude comment over the course of an interaction. Results showed that Black and Asian women were equally offended by the perpetrator’s derogatory comments and that race moderates the relationship between level of offense taken and its influence on confronting behavior. Implications for how stereotypes and cultural norms can affect how Black and Asian female targets are perceived by others and behave in the face of bias are discussed.