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Abstract

Polyculturalism is an ideology focusing on the many ways that racial and ethnic groups have interacted, exchanged ideas, and influenced each other's cultures throughout history and into the present. In this paper, we first briefly review the introduction of and research on polyculturalism by historians. Then we summarize numerous studies with racially and ethnic diverse college students and adult community members in the United States, which have found that greater endorsement of polyculturalism is significantly associated with more positive racial/ethnic intergroup attitudes (less support for social inequality, greater interest in, appreciation for, and comfort with diversity and differences, greater interest in intergroup contact, and greater support for liberal immigration and affirmative action policies) and lower sexual prejudice (lower affective prejudice toward gay men and lesbians, traditional heterosexism, and denial of discrimination against homosexuals, and more positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians). We conclude by discussing several future directions of this work.