Backlash effects are social and economic penalties for counterstereotypical behavior (Rudman & Phelan, 2008). Five experiments support a model of the role of backlash in racial stereotype maintenance from the standpoint of perceivers and actors (Rudman & Fairchild, 2004). In Experiment 1, perceivers sabotaged Asians and Whites for succeeding in counterstereotypical domains, thereby preventing their future success. In Experiment 2, a White rapper suffered prejudice and economic discrimination, relative to a Black rapper, and prejudice mediated discrimination. Further, actors threatened by backlash for achievement in cross-racial domains responded to success in ways that bolster ethnic stereotypes. For example, Black men and women who feared backlash for academic skill (Experiment 3), and non-Black (Experiment 4) and non-White (Experiment 5) men who experienced backlash for cross-racial achievement, resorted to defensive strategies that preserve racial stereotypes (e.g., refusing to publicize and pursue counterstereotypical talents). Implications for cultural stereotype maintenance are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Impression formation
- Social cognition
- Stereotype maintenance