I theorized that if redressing inequality becomes a way for dominant group members (i.e., whites) to boost their group‘s moral standing (i.e., as fair and just), resistance to increased equality among these group members might decrease, thereby increasing opportunities for social change. Thus, I examined the effect of morality framing—i.e., presenting social equality as a moral ideal versus a moral obligation—on whites‘ responses to social inequality. In Chapter 2 it is demonstrated that exposure to the moral ideal (vs. obligation) frame elicits more positive intergroup attitudes among whites. In Chapter 3 it is established that giving a speech about equality as a moral ideal (rather than as a moral obligation), elicits cardiovascular (CV) reactivity and speech rates among whites that are consistent with less relative threat and vigilance. However, studies in Chapter 4 show that during contact with a Black confederate, prior exposure to the moral ideal (vs. obligation) frame elicits CV reactivity among whites consistent with greater relative threat. CV reactivity was reliably predicted by more positive intergroup attitudes, and thus, heightened threat during intergroup contact can indicate the psychological cost of caring. These findings can inform policy and interventions aimed at increasing commitment toward equality.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|