Status Characteristics, Implicit Bias, and the Production of Racial Inequality

Source: David Melamed, Christopher W. Munn, Leanne Barry, Bradley Montgomery, Oneya F. Okuwobi, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst Published November 7, 2019
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From the abstract:
Racial stratification is well documented in many spheres of social life. Much stratification research assumes that implicit or explicit bias on the part of institutional gatekeepers produces disparate racial outcomes. Research on status-based expectations provides a good starting point for theoretically understanding racial inequalities. In this context it is understood that race results in differential expectations for performance, producing disparate outcomes. But even here, the mechanism (i.e., status-based expectations) is often assumed due to the lack of tools to measure status-based expectations. In this article, we put forth a new way to measure implicit racial status beliefs and theorize how they are related to consensual beliefs about what “most people” think. This enables us to assess the mechanisms in the relationship between race and disparate outcomes. We conducted two studies to assess our arguments. Study 1 demonstrates the measurement properties of the implicit status measure. Study 2 shows how implicit status beliefs and perceptions of what “most people” think combine to shape social influence. We conclude with the implications of this work for social psychological research, and for racial stratification more generally.