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But I'm No Bigot: How Prejudiced White Americans Maintain Unprejudiced Self-Images



Four experiments investigate a modern paradox: White Americans harbor racial prejudice, but view themselves as unprejudiced. We hypothesized that social representations of prejudice available in American culture lead many Whites to conclude that they are relatively unprejudiced. In Experiment 1, participants primed with the bigot stereotype viewed themselves as less prejudiced. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants exposed to media representations of racists viewed themselves as less prejudiced. In Experiment 4, participants sought exposure to media representations of prejudice after a threat to their unprejudiced self-image. These experiments suggest that representations of prejudice in American culture lead prejudiced individuals to view themselves as unprejudiced, and the effect of these representations on people's unprejudiced self-images can be passive or intentional.