White guilt and racial compensation: the benefit and limits of self-focus

Iyer, Aarti, Leach, Colin Wayne and Crosby, Faye J (2003) White guilt and racial compensation: the benefit and limits of self-focus. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29 (1). pp. 117-129. ISSN 0146-1672

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In two studies we investigated guilt as a response to group-based advantage. Consistent with its conceptualization as a self-focused emotion, White guilt was based in self-focused beliefs in racial inequality. Thus, guilt was associated with belief in White privilege (Study 1) and resulted from seeing European Americans as perpetrators of racial discrimination (Study 2). White guilt was predictive of support for affirmative action programs aimed at compensating African Americans. White guilt was not, however, predictive of support for non-compensatory efforts at promoting equality, such as affirmative action programs that increase opportunities (Study 2). In contrast, the other-focused emotion of group-based sympathy was a more general predictor of support for different affirmative action policies. Our findings demonstrate the benefits and limits of group-based guilt as a basis of support for social equality, and highlight the value of understanding the specific emotions elicited in intergroup contexts.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:35
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 13:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13383
Google Scholar:182 Citations
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