chapter  14
30 Pages

Racial Bias in Organizations: The Role of Group Processes in Its Causes and Cures

WithJohn F. Dovidio, Samuel L. Gaertner, Betty A. Bachman

The Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960s left a profound legacy on race relations in the United States. Before this legislation, racial discrimination that restricted the economic and educational opportunities of Blacks was not only customary in parts of the country but also legally permissible. Since the 1960s, social and economic indicators and the perceptions of both Whites and Blacks reflect significant improvements in the well-being of Blacks (Dovidio & Gaertner, 1986). In addition, the expressed racial attitudes of Whites have become consistently more positive, tolerant, and accepting. Negative stereotyping of Blacks has declined (Davis & Smith, 1996; Devine & Elliot, 1995; Dovidio & Gaertner, 1986; Karlins, Coffman, & Walters, 1969), and Whites’ acceptance of Blacks across a range of formal (e.g., work) and informal (e.g., social) settings is at an unprecedented high (Dovidio, Brigham, Johnson, & Gaertner, 1996; Schuman, Steeh, & Bobo, 1985). By 1972, 97% reported that they supported equal employment opportunities for Blacks. White America is also becoming more accepting of Black leaders. In 1958, the majority of Whites reported that they would not be willing to vote for a well-qualified Black presidential candidate; in 1994, over 90% said that they would (Davis & Smith, 1996). Thus, over the past three decades, social norms and mores have also changed dramatically.