How Women of Color Detect and Respond to Multiple Forms of Prejudice
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The processes by which women of color and White women living in the United States detect and respond to prejudice may differ because women of color experience racism, sexism and intersectional bias. This review builds on past research by articulating how existing process models of stigmatization, when applied to the stigmatization of women of color, leave important research questions unanswered. Stigmatized individuals’ interpretations of and responses to others’ behaviors are continuously shaped by the possibility that they will be targeted by prejudice. In each interaction in which prejudice is plausible, targets first determine whether they have experienced prejudice and, if so, they cope with the psychological and emotional consequences of prejudiced treatment. Current theories of stigmatization best account for the experiences of people who face only one form of prejudice. In contrast, we consider how women of color, who possess multiple stigmatized identities, respond to the multiple forms of prejudice they face. First, we identify barriers to including women of color in stigma research. Second, we describe research examining how targets with one stigmatized identity detect, respond to and cope with prejudice. Third, we draw on related research on multiple identities in areas outside of the stigma literature (e.g., intergroup bias, cognition) to raise questions that are important to address in future stigma research. Our analysis is supported primarily by research conducted in the U. S. Addressing the research questions raised in this review will position the stigma literature to more readily capture the stigmatizing experiences of women of color.
KeywordsStigma Intersectionality Prejudice Identity
We would like to thank Sam Sommers for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding of financial holdings that might be perceived as presening a conflict of interest or as affecting the objectivity of this review.
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