Understanding and Addressing Contemporary Racism: From Aversive Racism to the Common Ingroup Identity Model


  • We are grateful to the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the University of Delaware Research Foundation, and the Colgate University Research Council, who over the years supported the research reported in this article and to our colleagues and students who have contributed significantly to the work described in this article.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Samuel L. Gaertner, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713 [e-mail: gaertner@psych.edel.edu] or to John F. Dovidio, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269 [e-mail: John.Dovidio@uconn.edu].


This article describes our collaborative research on aversive racism and a strategy we developed to combat it, the Common Ingroup Identity Model. In addition, we reveal some details about our personal and professional relationship in pursuit of our scientific agenda. We begin by discussing evidence for the existence of aversive racism, a subtle, unintentional form bias that can have pernicious effects. Then we review research concerning how a common ingroup identity can combat aversive racism by redirecting the forces of social categorization and social identity, such that “Us” and “Them” are regarded as “We.” We conclude with a brief discussion of where we may look next for clues toward helping to achieve a fairer, more just society.