Inter-racial Gateways: The Potential of Biracials to Reduce Threat and Prejudice in Inter-racial Dynamics

  • Aharon Levy
  • Eran Halperin
  • Martijn van Zomeren
  • Tamar Saguy


We test the notion that the presence of a dual identity group, which partially shares both the ingroup and a relevant outgroup identity, can decrease intergroup prejudice. Previous research has demonstrated that such dual identity groups can act as a possible gateway between the groups that represent the respective sources of the dual identity. The current research applies this notion to the inter-racial context in the United States, focusing on the case of biracial individuals as having dual identities, and thus as potential gateways between blacks and whites. Specifically, we tested the prediction that exposure of whites to biracial individuals would decrease intergroup threat which in turn would decrease prejudice toward blacks. Findings from three studies supported this prediction and showed that the presence of biracial individuals reduced intergroup threat and prejudice among those most likely to harbor them (specifically, those high on social dominance orientation). We discuss the implications of our findings in terms of how this effect corresponds with current theoretical developments on dual identity, and possible practical social implications.


Biracial Gateway group Prejudice Social dominance orientation Dual identity Racism 



This work was supported by the Israeli Science Fund Grant (Grant Number 1772/14) awarded to the last author, and by the European Research Council Grant awarded to the second author (Grant No. 335607).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Animal Studies

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia Business SchoolColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary CenterHerzliyaIsrael
  3. 3.Heymans Institute for Psychological ResearchUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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