TOXIC WHITE IDENTITY SYMPOSIUM

Toxic White Identity Definition

An extreme manifestation of White identity characterized by race-based entitlement, a heightened sense of superiority over other racial/ethnic groups, and a belief that members of other racial/ethnic groups have a negative impact on White culture and society.

Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta

THE GOOD OL' DAYS: WHITE IDENTITY, GROUP-BASED NOSTALGIA AND THE PERPETUATION OF RACIAL EXTREMISM

Creating narratives about a group’s idyllic past (nostalgia) can be used to justify antipathy towards outgroups and outgroup policies. In two studies, we found that national nostalgia (Study 1) and racial nostalgia (Study 2) predict anti-immigrant attitudes and support for xenophobic policies (Studies 1 & 2), and mediates the link between White identity and White nationalist ideologies (Study 2).

Harris, Kannout, & Steiger

THE ROLE OF (RACIAL) ENTITLEMENT IN INTERGROUP HOSTILITY AND WHITE NATIONALISM

Feelings of entitlement can be toxic. Entitlement’s effects on dehumanization, White nationalism, and negative racial attitudes were examined among two samples of White Americans. Findings indicate that higher levels of entitlement predicted dehumanizing minority groups (Study 1), and higher racial entitlement predicted support for racist policies and White nationalist ideologies (Study 2).

Bellovary & Reyna

AMBIVALENCE IS BLISS: HIGHLY IDENTIFIED WHITES’ AMBIVALENCE TO AMERICAN SYSTEMS AS A FUNCTION OF TOXIC WHITE IDENTITY

The current analysis explored White identity’s impact on perceptions of American systems. Results indicated that highly identified Whites hold ambivalent beliefs about American systems, both justifying and condemning these systems. These beliefs may, in part, be driven by toxic versus non-toxic forms of white identity.

The Talks

Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta

THE GOOD OL' DAYS: WHITE IDENTITY, GROUP-BASED NOSTALGIA AND THE PERPETUATION OF RACIAL EXTREMISM

Creating narratives about a group’s idyllic past (nostalgia) can be used to justify antipathy towards outgroups and outgroup policies. In two studies, we found that national nostalgia (Study 1) and racial nostalgia (Study 2) predict anti-immigrant attitudes and support for xenophobic policies (Studies 1 & 2), and mediates the link between White identity and White nationalist ideologies (Study 2).

Harris, Kannout, & Steiger

THE ROLE OF (RACIAL) ENTITLEMENT IN INTERGROUP HOSTILITY AND WHITE NATIONALISM

Feelings of entitlement can be toxic. Entitlement’s effects on dehumanization, White nationalism, and negative racial attitudes were examined among two samples of White Americans. Findings indicate that higher levels of entitlement predicted dehumanizing minority groups (Study 1), and higher racial entitlement predicted support for racist policies and White nationalist ideologies (Study 2).

Bellovary & Reyna

AMBIVALENCE IS BLISS: HIGHLY IDENTIFIED WHITES’ AMBIVALENCE TO AMERICAN SYSTEMS AS A FUNCTION OF TOXIC WHITE IDENTITY

The current analysis explored White identity’s impact on perceptions of American systems. Results indicated that highly identified Whites hold ambivalent beliefs about American systems, both justifying and condemning these systems. These beliefs may, in part, be driven by toxic versus non-toxic forms of white identity.

Davis & Benson

WHEN EQUALITY FEELS LIKE OPPRESSION: EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WHITE
IDENTITY AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Data from two nationally representative samples indicate white identity predicts endorsement of political violence and decreased support of democratic norms. The effect size patterns increased from 2016 to 2018 and are mediated by perceived increased income equality. Findings suggest that highly identified whites will support actions and policies that lead to violence and the erosion of democracy.

The Measures

White Nationalism, 5 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta; Bellovary & Reyna)

  • Multiculturalism is the biggest threat to White America.

  • I am sympathetic to organizations/groups that bring attention to White concerns.

  • White American culture is what makes this country great.

  • One of the problems with America is the decline of Whiteness.

  • In order to maintain White status it is sometimes necessary to use violence towards racial/ethnic minority groups.

White Nationalism, 13 items (Harris, Kannout, & Steiger)

  • Multiculturalism is the biggest threat to White America.

  • I am sympathetic to organizations/groups that bring attention to White concerns.

  • White American culture is what makes this country great.

  • One of the problems with America is the decline of Whiteness.

  • In order to maintain White status it is sometimes necessary to use violence towards racial/ethnic minority groups.

  • No multiracial society can be a truly healthy society.

  • My race/ethnicity is genetically more superior than others.

  • Violence is a regrettable but understandable reaction to demographic changes in America.

  • Whites should band together to support policies that ensure a White majority.

  • The government should prioritize immigration from predominantly White European countries. 

  • Jews control the American economy more than they should.

  • Whites in the United States are being replaced by the influx of other racial/ethnic groups.

  • In an ideal society, men have more power than women.

Racial Identity, 12 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta; Harris, Kannout, & Steiger; Bellovary & Reyna)

  • I have spent time trying to find out more about my racial/ethnic group, such as its history, traditions, and customs.

  • I am active in organizations or social groups that include mostly members of my own racial/ethnic group.

  • I have a clear sense of my racial/ethnic background and what it means for me.

  • I think a lot about how my life will be affected by my racial/ethnic group membership.

  • I am happy that I am a member of the racial/ethnic group I belong to.

  • I have a strong sense of belonging to my own racial/ethnic group.

  • I understand pretty well what my racial/ethnic group membership means to me.

  • In order to learn more about my racial/ethnic background, I have often talked to other people about my racial/ethnic group.

  • I have a lot of pride in my racial/ethnic group.

  • I participate in cultural practices of my own racial/ethnic group, such as special food, music, or customs.

  • I feel a strong attachment towards my own racial/ethnic group.

  • I feel good about my cultural or racial/ethnic background.

Racial Entitlement, 10 items (Harris, Kannout, & Steiger; Bellovary & Reyna)

  • I feel I am more deserving of good things than others because of my race/ethnicity.

  • Because of my race/ethnicity great things should come to me.

  • If a boat was sinking, people of my race/ethnicity deserves to be on the first lifeboat.

  • I do not deserve special treatment based on my race/ethnicity. [REV]

  • People of my race/ethnicity deserve better things in life than others.

  • I do not feel entitled to more benefits in society due to my race/ethnicity.

  • I deserve respect due to my race/ethnicity.

  • If I lost a job to a person of a different race/ethnicity, I would feel cheated even if they were equally qualified.

  • Those of my race/ethnicity should have access to more opportunities (e.g. jobs, education, housing) because we have more to offer.

  • I believe I deserve the advantages given to members of my race/ethnicity.

Discriminatory Policies, 13 items (Harris, Kannout, & Steiger)

  • Sometimes it is justified to use violence to achieve political goals in this country.

  • The government should use the military to control rallies/protests that promote racial/ethnic minority causes (e.g., Black Lives Matter).

  • In order to deter illegal immigration, the government should separate immigrant children from their parents. 

  • Our country should use armed force against anyone crossing the border illegally.

  • Sometimes it is necessary to push back against authorities in order to protect the rights of my racial/ethnic group.

  • I am more likely to be aggressive when in a disagreement with someone of a different race/ethnicity. 

  • Stop and frisk tactics in communities of color are unjustified. 

  • We need to reform our criminal justice system to reduce racial bias. 

  • Our government should build a wall on the southern border to stop immigration from Latin America.

  • To keep our country safe, people from Muslim countries should undergo additional scrutiny before coming to America. 

  • Increasing police patrols in racial/ethnic minority communities is necessary to lower crime.

  • In most instances where the police shot unarmed Black men, the police were justified. 

  • When Black people are harassed in public spaces (e.g., being asked to leave an establishment) it is typically because they were being disruptive in some manner.

Retroactive Ingroup Social Comparison (RISC), 4 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • Compared to your parents’ generation, do you believe your racial/ethnic group is better off today, worse off today or is about the same as before?

  • Compared to your parents’ generation, do you believe your racial/ethnic group is gaining status, losing status or has about the same status as before?

  • Compared to your parents’ generation, do you believe your racial/ethnic group has more economic opportunities, fewer economic opportunities or about the same economic opportunities as before?

  • Compared to your parents’ generation, do you believe your racial/ethnic group has more cultural influence, less cultural influence or about the same cultural influence as before?

Pessimism about the future, 2 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • I am scared of what the future may bring for my racial/ethnic group.

  • When thinking about my racial/ethnic group, our best days were in the past.

Optimism about the future, 3 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • I am optimistic about what the future may bring for my racial/ethnic group.

  • When thinking about my racial/ethnic group, our best days are yet to come.

  • When I think about my racial/ethnic group’s future, I become full of positive emotions.

Racial BIRGing, 4 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • The great advancements of civilization have come from my racial/ethnic group.

  • The greatest leaders in the modern world have been people of my racial/ethnic group.

  • The most significant discoveries (e.g., in science and technology) have been made by people of my racial/ ethnic group.

  • I believe people of my racial/ethnic group deserve more gratitude for the advances they have made in our society.

System Justification, 3 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • The American system provides equal opportunities to all groups.

  • Anyone willing to work hard can get ahead in America.

  • The American system treats people fairly.

System Condemnation, 3 items (Bellovary & Reyna)

  • The American system is completely broken.

  • The American system has failed to live up to its promises.

  • The American Dream is unattainable.

National Nostalgia, 6 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta)

[The following 3 questions are measured on a 5-point scale: 1 = Never; 2 = Sometimes; 3 = About half the time; 4 = Most of the time; 5 = Always]

  • How often do you bring to mind nostalgic experiences related to the way the United States was in the past? 

  • How important is it for you to bring to mind nostalgic experiences related to the way the United States was in the past? 

  • How significant is it for you to feel nostalgic about the way the United States was in the past? 

[The following 3 questions are measured on a 5-point scale: 1 = Not at all; 2 = A little; 3 = A moderate amount; 4 = A lot; 5 = A great deal]

  • The way Americans were in the past. 

  • The way American society was in the past.

  • The way the American landscape (i.e. surroundings) looked like in the past.

Anti-Immigrant Attitudes: Realistic Threat, 5 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta)

  • Immigrants in large groups are dangerous

  • Immigrants bring the problems of their native country to America

  • Immigrants are a burden on American tax payers

  • Immigrants are a threat to national security

  • Every person we let into our country from Latin countries means either another American will not be able to find a job, or another foreigner will go on welfare here

Anti-Immigrant Attitudes: Symbolic Threat, 4 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta)

  • Immigrants’ culture(s) dilutes American culture 

  • There are entirely too many people from the wrong sorts of places being admitted into America now

  • Undocumented Latino immigrants are too emotional and hateful, and they don’t fit in well in our country

  • As a group, undocumented Latino immigrants are naturally lazy, promiscuous, and irresponsible

Racial Nostalgia, 2 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta)

  • When I think about my racial/ethnic group’s past, I become full of positive emotions

  • When thinking about my racial/ethnic group, our best days were in the past

Extreme Anti-Immigrant Policies, 3 items (Reyna, Zarate, & Armenta)

  • In order to deter illegal immigration, the government should separate immigrant children from their parents

  • Our country should use armed force against anyone crossing the border illegallyOur government should build a wall on the southern border to stop immigration from Latin America

White Consciousness, 3 items (Davis & Benson)

  • How important is being White to your identity?

  • How important is it for Whites to work together to change laws unfair to Whites?

  • How likely is it that many Whites are unable to find a job because employers are hiring minorities instead?

Political Violence, 1 item (Davis & Benson)

  • How much do you feel it is justified for people to use violence to pursue their political goals in this country?

Income Gap, 1 item (Davis & Benson)

  • Do you think the difference in incomes between rich people and poor people in the United States today is larger, smaller, or the same as it was 20 years ago?

Racial resentment, 4 items (Davis & Benson)

  • Irish, Italians, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.

  • Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.

  • Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.

  • It's really a matter of some people not trying hard enough: if blacks would only try harder.

Democratic Norms, 6 items (Davis & Benson)

  • News organizations are free to criticize political leaders

  • The government conducts its work openly and transparently

  • The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government keep one another from having too much power

  • Elected officials face serious consequences if they engage in misconduct

  • People are free to peacefully protest

  • People agree on basic facts even if they disagree politically

Dehumanization, 9 items (Harris, Kannout, & Steiger)

  • Blacks

  • Hispanics/Latinos

  • Muslims

  • Asians

  • Latin-American Immigrants

  • Undocumented Immigrants

  • Native American

  • Middle Eastern

  • Mexican

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