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The Divergent Effects of Diversity Ideologies for Race and Gender Relations
Keywords: Diversity ideologies, race, gender, system justification, bias
Abstract: The present research compares the influence of diversity ideologies on race and gender relations. In contrast to research suggesting that multiculturalism (i.e., awareness) is more effective at reducing racial bias than colorblindness (i.e., blindness), I show that the opposite is true for gender. Using system justification theory, I show that diversity ideologies act upon distinct system-justifying rationales, where race-awareness exposes differences in opportunities, lessens denial of inequality, and diminishes support for the status quo. In contrast, gender-awareness highlights gender-roles and their biological underpinnings, legitimizes occupational segregation, and increases support for the status quo (Studies 1–2). Further, I show the downstream consequences for women and racial minorities’ opportunities, where race-awareness increases support for policies that combat systemic inequality (i.e., affirmative action), whereas gender-awareness increases gender stereotyping in leadership (Study 3). I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for improving intergroup relations and caution against holistic approaches to diversity.