Whites’ Favorability Toward African Americans: The Influence of a Bargainer or Challenger Strategy1


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    The authors thank Lisa Molix for her assistance with data collection. We also thank Janie Eubanks for her comments on earlier drafts of this work. Preliminary reports of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, June 2000, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and August 2001, San Francisco, California.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cyndi Kernahan, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 410 South 3rd Street, River Falls, WI 54022. E-mail: cynthia.kernahan@uwrf.edu


The purpose of this research is to examine how Whites respond to African Americans who differ in their attitudes about racism and strategies for handling racism. In one condition, White participants read about an African American student who described racism as a minor problem and expressed an individualistic strategy for dealing with it (bargainer). In another condition, the student described racism as a large problem and endorsed a more collective strategy (challenger). Results showed that the bargainer was perceived more favorably; however, participants low in modern racism gave higher favorability ratings to the challenger than did those high in modem racism. Results are discussed in terms of the limitations of the bargainer approach, as well as its appeal to Whites.