Blatant and subtle prejudice: dimensions, determinants, and consequences; some comments on Pettigrew and Meertens



Although it has become common to suggest a conceptual distinction between traditional and contemporary forms of prejudice, Pettigrew and Meertens have actually attempted to distinguish the two empirically and developed measures to gauge each. Replication of their study, on the distinction between blatant and subtle prejudice, discloses a number of methodological flaws that have led to debatable substantial conclusions. We found two distinct measures, however, substantially different from the ones proposed by Pettigrew and Meertens. Our model shows, by all available indices, a better fit to the data: a first broad factor labelled general prejudice, and a small second factor labelled perceived cultural differences. The first factor is well explained by a number of social characteristics; the second is rather poorly explained and has a rather poor discriminatory power. The first one has strong effects on some consequential variables whereas the second has hardly any effects. Other evidence, considered to be crucial by Pettigrew and Meertens, contains other methodological flaws, i.e. the neglect of interdependent items. After this correction, their piece of evidence turns out to be artificial. As a benefit to future research, we try to clarify conditions for distinguishing empirically and conceptually between traditional and contemporary prejudice. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.