“Ain’t I a Woman?”: Towards an Intersectional Approach to Person Perception and Group-based Harms
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- Goff, P.A., Thomas, M.A. & Jackson, M.C. Sex Roles (2008) 59: 392. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9505-4
Our research examines whether intersecting racial and gender identities affect person perception. Predominantly White undergraduates (292) from a large northeastern U.S. university categorized and rated pictures (Study 1) and videos (Study 2) of Black and White men and women. We supported three hypotheses: 1) intersectionality affects person perception processes, leading to gender categorization errors for Black women; 2) “Blackness” and “maleness” are highly associated for Black male and female targets; and, 3) women are perceived as unattractive proportionally to their perceived masculinity, leading Black women to be rated as less attractive than other women. We suggest that intersectional approaches are required in order to fully understand person perception. Further, the Black/male association may lead to unique harms for Black women.