Date Awarded

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.Sc.)




Cheryl L Dickter

Committee Member

Adrian J. Bravo

Committee Member

Xiaowen Xu


Confrontation is an important mechanism to reduce racial prejudice and stereotyping. Yet, little research has examined White adults’ intended confrontation within the context of institutionally discriminatory policies that pose barriers to Black Americans seeking employment or investigated reactions to zero-sum and negative-sum anti-Black institutional discrimination. The present study investigated the effects of an antiracism educational exercise on White adults’ confrontation of zero-sum and negative-sum institutional discrimination. Participants (n = 195; Mage = 54.16) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) antiracism education with writing reflection, (2) antiracism education alone, or (3) a control condition. Participants next reported how they would respond in situations that described zero-sum (i.e., new hire recruitment exclusively from predominantly White institutions) and negative-sum anti-Black institutional discrimination (i.e., hairstyle discrimination). Participants in the antiracism education alone condition confronted more assertively in both scenarios compared to participants in the control condition. Participants were more likely to confront, and confronted more strongly, in the zero-sum discrimination scenario than the negative-sum discrimination scenario. However, the disparity in assertiveness of confrontation was reduced among participants higher in White guilt and nonsignificant among those in the antiracism education with writing reflection task who reported low color-blind racial ideology or high confrontation and accomplice behavior intentions. We conclude that brief antiracism education exercises may hold promise for increasing White adults’ assertive confrontation of institutional discrimination, but the effects may be contingent on whether a reflective writing task is included, the characteristics of the discriminatory policy, and sociopolitical attitudes.




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