Multiple group threat and malleable white attitudes towards academic merit

Frank L. Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


As the White populace in the United States moves toward numerical minority status by 2042, how might Whites respond to impending threat of losing their dominant group position? In particular, how will Whites react at selective, elite universities, where Asians are increasingly prominent and other non-Whites are maintaining or capturing a larger share of enrollments? Drawing on group position theory, I test White commitment to meritocracy as a public policy, using a survey-based experiment (599 California adult residents) to examine the importance grade point average should have in public university admissions. Whites decrease the importance that grade point average should have when Asian group threat is primed. However, White Californians increase the importance that grade point average should have when thinking about group threat from either Blacks or Blacks and Asians simultaneously. Ethnoracial outgroup threat shifts White support for meritocracy in different directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-260
Number of pages28
JournalDu Bois Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Asian American
  • Group Threat
  • Meritocracy
  • Race
  • University Admissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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