The Ordinary Conception of Race in the United States and Its Relation to Racial Attitudes: A New Approach

Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (1-2):15-38 (2009)

Abstract

Many hold that ordinary race-thinking in the USA is committed to the 'one-drop rule', that race is ordinarily represented in terms of essences, and that race is ordinarily represented as a biological (phenotype- and/or ancestry-based, non-social) kind. This study investigated the extent to which ordinary race-thinking subscribes to these commitments. It also investigated the relationship between different conceptions of race and racial attitudes. Participants included 449 USA adults who completed an Internet survey. Unlike previous research, conceptions of race were assessed using concrete vignettes. Results indicate widespread rejection of the one-drop rule, as well as the use of a complex combination of ancestral, phenotypic, and social (and, therefore, non-essentialist) criteria for racial classification. No relationship was found between racial attitudes and essentialism, the one-drop rule, or social race-thinking; however, ancestry-based and phenotype-based classification criteria were associated with racial attitudes. These results suggest a complicated relationship between conceptions of race and racial attitudes.

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Joshua Glasgow
Sonoma State University

References found in this work

Race, Racism, and Reparations.J. Angelo Corlett - 2018 - Cornell University Press.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50:72-73.

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Citations of this work

A Radical Solution to the Race Problem.Quayshawn Spencer - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1025-1038.
Against the New Metaphysics of Race.David Ludwig - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):244-265.
Philosophy of Race Meets Population Genetics.Quayshawn Spencer - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:46-55.
Racial Realism II: Are Folk Races Real?Quayshawn Spencer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12467.

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