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MLK Day and Racial Attitudes: Liking the Group More but Its Members Less

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Abstract

Intuition suggests that the Martin Luther King holiday (MLK Day) should improve racial attitudes toward African Americans. However, its influence may depend on whether African Americans are evaluated as a group or individually. In two studies, we assessed racial attitudes either on MLK Day or on a control day. As might be expected, participants had more sympathetic attitudes towards African Americans as a group on MLK Day compared to control days; however, they evaluated individual African American exemplars more negatively on MLK Day compared to control days, who presumably seemed worse by comparison to the eminent political figure.

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