The impact of social norms on navigating race in a racially diverse context

Chanel Meyers, Amanda T Williams, Kristin Pauker, Evan Apfelbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


To date, research has primarily focused on the colorblind norms and
behaviors of majority-White participants in majority-White contexts.
Extending this work to more diverse samples and contexts, across four
studies we examine whether colorblind norms link to the colorblind
behavior of racially diverse participants living in a racially diverse (i.e.,
heterogeneous) context. Findings suggest that participants living in a
racially diverse context did not endorse colorblind beliefs (Study 1) and
norms (Study 2) and instead behave in race-conscious ways and
overwhelmingly use race in a photo-identification task. Furthermore, in
Study 3 we find that colorblind norms are largely activated by the belief
that talking about race is prejudiced. When participants were exposed to
a social norm that linked talking about race to prejudice, colorblind
behavior became more prevalent. Finally, in Study 4, we see that greater
diversity of one’s context is correlated to less endorsement of
Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Dec 2020


  • colorblindness
  • race
  • social norms
  • racial diversity

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