IACM 2022 Abstract Book »
Friend or Faux: Performative Wokeness and Reputational Signaling about Social Issues
Using a total of 1450 participants across 5 studies, we have demonstrated a general knowledge of performative wokeness – signaling an awareness of social issues to others with the intent to boost one’s reputation or status. In a sample of White Americans, we found that 99.33% of participants considered themselves to be “aware” of issues of race and racism, and 79.80% of this participant pool also indicated that they have attempted to explicitly demonstrate their awareness of this social issue to others. Using an inductive approach from participants’ open-ended responses, we generated a list of 44 discrete behaviors. We then found that high-SES White Americans were significantly more likely to engage in performative wokeness, and that this relationship was fully mediated by participants’ desire for status. Future directions will examine situations where these displays might be most likely to emerge, and perceptions of performative wokeness behaviors from observers.