When Sexism Leads to Racism: Threat, Protecting Women, and Racial Bias
- 356 Downloads
The stated goal of protecting White women from harm has been used, historically and contemporarily, as a pretext for racial violence. Two studies explored the relationship between protective paternalism (the belief that men should protect and care for women—part of benevolent sexism; Glick and Fiske 1996) and anti-minority racial attitudes. In Study 1 (n = 474, 61% women, 61% White), survey data found that protective paternalism was related to anti-Black bias, but only for White respondents. Study 2 (n = 242, 52% women, 74% White) experimentally manipulated feelings of threat to test for increases in protective paternalism and its corresponding effect on three anti-minority racial attitudes. For male participants only, threat (i.e., reading about recent increases in violent crime) increased endorsement of protective paternalism, which was in turn associated with a more negative view of immigration, and, for White men only, less support for policies that benefit racial minority groups and greater denial of racial bias in policing. Threat did not increase protective paternalism in female participants. For White men in particular, news of crime and danger increases racial bias by first increasing the desire to protect women. Policymakers should be aware that framing policies around safety concerns or appealing to the protection of women might unintentionally bolster anti-minority racial prejudices.
KeywordsBenevolent sexism Sexism Paternalism Racism Threat
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest
There are no potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial) to disclose.
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
This research involved human participants. Both of the studies reported in this manuscript received approval from the Portland State University Institutional Review Board prior to the collection of any data. Compensation for participation was non-coercive, data are anonymous and stored in a secure facility, informed consent was gathered, and procedures put participants at ‘minimal risk’.
All of the participants were over the age of 18 and gave their informed consent before participating in any research.
- Abrams, D., Tendayi Viki, G., Masser, B. M., & Bohner, G. (2003). Perceptions of stranger and acquaintance rape: The role of benevolent and hostile sexism in victim blame and rape proclivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 111–125. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Allen, S. A. (2015). Sexual stereotypes about ethnic minorities in the United States. In The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Vol. 3, pp. 1115–1354). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs460.
- Ammons, L. L. (1995). Mules, madonnas, babies, bathwater, racial imagery and stereotypes: The African-American woman and the battered woman syndrome. Wisconsin Law Review, 5, 1003–1080.Google Scholar
- Angerer, C. (2016). Cologne sex attacks ‘good for us’, anti-refugee protesters say. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/cologne-sex-attacks-good-us-anti-refugee-protesters-say-n497376.
- Apel, D. (2004). Imagery of lynching: Black men, White women, and the mob. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Arab American National Museum. (2011). Reclaiming identity: Dismantling Arab stereotypes. Retrieved from http://www.arabstereotypes.org/why-stereotypes/what-orientalism/sheiks-terrorists.
- BBC News. (2016, March 4). Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911.
- Dardenne, B., Dumont, M., Sarlet, M., Phillips, C., Balteau, E., Degueldre, C., … Collette, F. (2013). Benevolent sexism alters executive brain responses. Neuroreport, 24(10), 572–577. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283625b5b.
- Davis, A. Y. (1981). Women, race, and class. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
- Difendila! [Online image]. (1944). Retrieved from http://www.ww2incolor.com/homefront/manifesto_difendila.html.
- Dines, G. (2006). White man's burden: Gonzo pornography and the construction of Black masculinity. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, 18, 283–297.Google Scholar
- Edwards, D. (2014). Louie Gohmert: Obama don’t ‘defend women’ from ‘hundreds of thousands’ of immigrant rapists. Raw Story. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/2014/07/louie-gohmert-obama-wont-defend-women-from-hundreds-of-thousands-of-immigrant-rapists/.
- Evans, S. (1979). Personal politics: The roots of women’s liberation in the civil rights movements and the new left (Vol. 228). New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
- Garcia, A. (2014). Michelle Bachmann calls immigrant children ‘invaders’ and compares them to rapists. Raw Story. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/2014/07/michele-bachmann-calls-immigrant-children-invaders-and-compares-them-to-rapists/#.U8XUB5_lMI8.twitter.
- Glick, P., Fiske, S. T., Mladinic, A., Saiz, J. L., Abrams, D., Masser, B., … Lopez, W. (2000). Beyond prejudice as simple antipathy: Hostile and benevolent sexism across cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 763–775. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993.
- Gordon, R., Piana, L. D., & Keleher, T. (2000). Facing the consequences: An examination of racial discrimination in U.S. public schools. Oakland: Applied Research Center.Google Scholar
- Guerrero, E. (1993). Framing blackness: The African American image in film. Philadelphia: Temper University Press.Google Scholar
- Hall, J. D. (1993). Revolt against chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the women's campaign against lynching. New York City: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Hee Lee, M. Y. (2015). Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-trumps-false-comments-connecting-mexican-immigrants-and-crime/.
- Jackman, M. R. (1994). Velvet glove: Paternalism and conflict in gender, class, and race relations. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Jost, J. T., & Kay, A. C. (2005). Exposure to benevolent sexism and complementary gender stereotypes: Consequences for specific and diffuse forms of system justification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 498–509. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.528.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- King, E. B., Botsford, W., Hebl, M. R., Kazama, S., Dawson, J. F., & Perkins, A. (2012). Benevolent sexism at work gender differences in the distribution of challenging developmental experiences. Journal of Management, 38(6), 1835–1866. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206310365902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Krieger, N., Waterman, P. D., Hartman, C., Bates, L. M., Stoddard, A. M., Quinn, M. M., … Barbeau, E. M. (2006). Social hazards on the job: Workplace abuse, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination--a study of Black, Latino, and White low- income women and men workers in the United States. International Journal of Health Services, 36, 51–85. https://doi.org/10.2190/3EMB-YKRH-EDJ2-0H19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Marchetti, G. (1994). Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, sex, and discursive strategies in Hollywood fiction. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- McConahay, J. B. (1986). Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale. In J. D. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp. 91–125). Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Michalak, L. (1988). Cruel and unusual: Negative images of Arabs in American popular culture. ADC Issue Paper No. 15. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED363532.pdf.
- Miles, H. (2012). WWII propaganda: The influence of racism. Artifacts, 6. Retrieved from https://artifactsjournal.missouri.edu/2012/03/wwii-propaganda-the-influence-of-racism/.
- Montañés, P., de Lemus, S., Bohner, G., Megías, J. L., Moya, M., & Garcia-Retamero, R. (2012). Intergenerational transmission of benevolent sexism from mothers to daughters and its relation to daughters’ academic performance and goals. Sex Roles, 66(7–8), 468–478. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-0116-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Morton, D. (1991). Disfigured images: The historical assault on Afro-American women. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- National Women’s Law Center. (2016). Equal pay for African American women. Retrieved from https://nwlc.org/resources/equal-pay-for-african-american-women/.
- Schloesser, P. E. (2002). The fair sex: White women and racial patriarchy in the early American republic. New York: NYU Press.Google Scholar
- Sibley, C. G., Wilson, M. S., & Duckitt, J. (2007). Antecedents of men’s hostile and benevolent sexism: The dual roles of social dominance orientation and right-wing authoritarianism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(2), 160–172. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167206294745.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sidanius, J., & Veniegas, R. C. (2000). Gender and race discrimination: The interactive nature of disadvantage. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination: The Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology (pp. 47–69). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Smith, T. W., Marsden, P., Hout, M., & Kim, J. (2015). General Social Surveys, 1972–2012: Cumulative codebook. National Data Program for the Social Sciences Series, No. 22. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Tchen, J. K. W., & Yeats, D. (Eds.). (2014). Yellow peril!: An archive of anti-Asian fear. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2016). Blacks during the Holocaust. Retrieved from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005479.
- Wade, L. (2015). How ‘benevolent sexism’ drove Dylann Roof’s racist massacre. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/06/21/how-benevolent-sexism-drove-dylann-roofs-racist-massacre/?utm_term=.516ff7acac79.
- Ware, V. (2015). Beyond the pale: White women, racism, and history. Brooklyn: Verso Books.Google Scholar
- Wood, A. L. (2011). Lynching and spectacle: Witnessing racial violence in America, 1890–1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
- Yardley, J. (2016). Sexual attacks widen divisions in European migrant crisis. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/world/europe/a-climate-of-fear-widens-divisions-in-europes-migrant-crisis.html.