“All Lives Matter”: The Cost of Colorblind Racial Attitudes in Diverse Social Networks

Abstract

In this study, we examined the effects of colorblind racial attitudes and outgroup prejudice on people’s social network positions within a diverse social setting. Sixty-four racially diverse participants created self-resembling avatars and interacted in groups of diverse peers in the virtual world, Second Life. We conducted a social network analysis based on friendships developed during the group interactions and also examined participants’ physical distances in relation to outgroup members and levels of chat participation. Colorblind racial attitudes, but not outgroup prejudice, were directly related to lower levels of closeness centrality and clustering within the network. In addition, outgroup physical distance, but not chat participation, was found to be a behavioral mechanism that mediated the relationships between: 1) colorblind racial attitudes and closeness centrality; and 2) colorblind racial attitudes and clustering. Findings are discussed in relation to the adverse affects of colorblind racial attitudes on intergroup behavior and the pro-sociality of recognizing race and racism within increasingly diverse settings such as the workplace or educational settings.

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Tawa, J., Ma, R. & Katsumoto, S. “All Lives Matter”: The Cost of Colorblind Racial Attitudes in Diverse Social Networks. Race Soc Probl 8, 196–208 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-016-9171-z

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Keywords

  • Colorblind racial attitudes
  • Social network analysis
  • Virtual world