(with Ryan D. Enos)
The study of intergroup attitudes is a central topic across the social sciences. While there is little doubt about the importance of intergroup attitudes in shaping behavior, both the psychological underpinnings of these attitudes and the tools used to measure them remain contentious. Modern racism scales, which are the most common way to measure anti-Black prejudice in political science, were created in response to a shift in the attitudes of white Americans toward African Americans, and reflect a mix of social conservatism and anti-Black affect. Using experiments, we offer evidence that modern racism scales measure attitudes toward any group, rather than African Americans alone. In the spirit of the original motivation behind modern racism scales, which were created to capture changing public opinion about race, we suggest this property of modern racism may reflect a change in how stereotypes about low workethic are applied across groups and that the target of resentment for white Americans, especially for political conservatives, has broadened beyond African Americans. Our results suggest that modern racism scales reflect a general set of attitudes about fairness and that new instruments may be needed to measure group-specific prejudice.
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