The relationship between racial attitudes and context on simulated hiring decisions for White vs. Hispanic applicants


Today it is no longer considered socially acceptable to blatantly endorse racist beliefs or actions. However, despite this apparent change in our collective social attitude, racial conflict still exists. This may be due, in part, to a modern type of racism that is believed to result from the simultaneous endorsement of two conflicting popular U.S. values, egalitarianism and individualism. This conflict creates ambivalence that may result in different actions toward minorities depending on the context of the situation. This study examines the relationship between modern racism and the context of the situation for hiring preferences for White verses Hispanic job applicants. Participants were pretested on the Modern Racism scale, and approximately two weeks later they rated job applicant resumes. It was predicted that when the stimulus resume had a Hispanic man's name and photo on it, those participants who scored high on the Modern Racism scale would rate the stimulus resume differently than the participants who scored low on the Modern Racism scale. It was predicted that presenting the Hispanic man's resume first would create a context where no social guidelines exist and the racially ambivalent participant would rate the applicant lower than normal without fear of appearing racist. Following, we predicted that presenting the Hispanic man's resume last, after two White applicant's resumes, would create a context in which race is highly salient and the racially ambivalent participant would rate it higher than normal. Of the 104 participants, 75 identified themselves as White. These 75 participants were used in data analyses. Hierarchical multiple regression was performed to examine if modern racism, ethnic background of the applicant and context of the situation were moderators in hiring judgments. The significant three-way interaction suggests that participants who scored high on modern racism rated the resume with a Hispanic man's photo on it lower than the same resume with a White man's photo on it when they reviewed it last, after two other White applicants' resumes with better credentials. These findings suggest that modern racism toward Hispanics exists and may be an important correlate of discrimination toward Hispanics. This suggests that there is a need for further research on this topic.


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Thesis Completion





Fritzsche, Barbara


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program



Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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