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Abstract

Thinking about the benefits gained from a privileged group membership can threaten social identity and evoke justification of the existing status difference between the ingroup and a disadvantaged group. For White Americans, racial privilege may be justified by concurring with modern racist attitudes. In Experiment 1, White Americans randomly assigned to think about White privilege expressed greater modern racism compared to those assigned to think about White disadvantage or a race-irrelevant topic. In Experiment 2, we found that increased racism in response to thoughts of White privilege was limited to those who highly identified with their racial category. In contrast, when White racial identification was sufficiently low, thoughts of White privilege reliably reduced modern racism. We discuss the implications of these findings for the meaning of modern racism and prejudice reduction. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.