03/04/2015 12:00 pm ET

'It's The Blackness That Scares Everybody': Why White People Favor 'African-Americans'

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A new study from professor Erika Hall of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School suggests that white people have a far more negative view of the term “Black” than they do of the term “African-American.” For instance, study participants routinely concluded that a person had a higher level of education and job status, if that person was referred to as African-American rather than Black. “Only 38.46% of participants in the Black racial label estimated that the target was in a managerial position, while 73% of the targets in the African-American racial label condition estimated that the target was in a managerial position.” When the study controlled for the alternate use of “white” versus “Caucasian,” there was no significant perception of difference. Study participants also concluded that targets identified as “African-American” were perceived to have a higher socioeconomic status, to generally be more competent, and to have a “warmer” personality.

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