Racial Cues and Racial Identity: Implications for How African Americans Experience and Respond to Racial Discrimination


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Previous research suggests racial identity and racial cues, such as the extent to which an event is blatantly or ambiguously race-related, individually shape African American (AA) individuals’ experiences with racial discrimination (RD). However, scant attention has been paid to the interactive or transactional influences of these factors. The present study examined the direct effects of racial cues and the interactive effects of racial cues and racial identity—specifically, the extent to which AAs believe others view AAs negatively—on 78 AAs’ interpretations of and affective responses to lab-based RD. Findings revealed a direct effect of racial cues on participants’ perceptions of the event as being race-relevant and on participants’ affect. Moreover, racial identity moderated the associations between racial cues and participants’ perceptions and affective responses. These findings suggest that AAs’ experiences with RD are not homogeneous and that the interplay or transaction between racial cues and racial identity is vital in such experiences.

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