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Race, Education, and Individualism Revisited


Christopher M. Federico is assistant professor of psychology and political science, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455.


Current work suggests that individualistic values are more likely to be invoked in judgments about welfare recipients when the latter are black. Nevertheless, this “racialization” hypothesis has yet to be directly tested by looking at whether generalized individualism is more strongly related to hostility toward welfare recipients among whites when the recipients are black. In this paper, I conduct this critical test. I also show that this tendency is strongest among college-educated whites and that it occurs for both descriptive individualism (i.e., the belief that hard work and self-reliance lead to success) and prescriptive individualism (i.e., a normative endorsement of these traits).