Biological Conceptions of Race and the Motivation to Cross Racial Boundaries

By Melissa J. WilliamsJennifer L Eberhardt
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
June2008 Vol. 94 Issue 6 Pages 1033–1047.

The present studies demonstrate that conceiving of racial group membership as biologically determined increases acceptance of racial inequities (Studies 1 and 2) and cools interest in interacting with racial outgroup members (Studies 3-5). These effects were generally independent of racial prejudice. It is argued that when race is cast as a biological marker of individuals, people perceive racial outgroup members as unrelated to the self and therefore unworthy of attention and affiliation. Biological conceptions of race therefore provide justification for a racially inequitable status quo and for the continued social marginalization of historically disadvantaged groups.