The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this report. This research was supported in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1992 annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Quebec, Canada.
Opposition to Affirmative Action: Racial Affect and Traditional Value Predictors Across Four Programs1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 314–337, February 1995
How to Cite
Nosworthy, G. J., LEA, J. A. and Lindsay, R. C. L. (1995), Opposition to Affirmative Action: Racial Affect and Traditional Value Predictors Across Four Programs. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25: 314–337. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1995.tb02394.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Research on white opinions of such compensatory policies as busing and affirmative action has suggested that prejudice is the primary determinant of policy attitudes (Jacobson, 1985; McConahay, 1982). Often, however, racism is measured in a manner that confounds prejudice with values and concerns about justice. A study was conducted in which undergraduates (N= 185) were told that one of four affirmative-action programs for black students would be implemented at their university either in the following year or in 5 years. We found that: (a) support varied considerably across programs and was greater when implementation was imminent; (b) separate operationalizations of race prejudice and dispositional justice beliefs accounted for equal, and at times greater, variance in affirmative action opinions relative to a measure of symbolic racism; and (c) correlates of policy endorsement, including dispositional justice beliefs but not racial affect, varied from program to program. It is suggested that future research should explicitly distinguish race prejudice from values as predictors. It is also suggested that justice concerns, particularly regarding policy specifics, are important predictors of affirmative action attitudes that to date have largely been overlooked.