Mismatched goals may lead interactions between well-intentioned White and racial minority individuals to go awry. Waterloo Assistant Professor Hilary Bergsieker and her colleagues clarify the divergent expectations that diverse groups often bring into encounters with one another.
Stereotypes of some racial minorities (e.g., Blacks and Latinos) as unintelligent and of Whites as racist may give rise to divergent impression management goals in interracial interactions. A series of experiments reveal that in interracial interactions racial minorities typically seek to be respected and seen as competent more than Whites do, whereas Whites seek to be liked and seen as moral more than racial minorities do. These divergent goals are reflected in Whites’ and racial minorities’ self-report responses and behaviours, in both pre-existing relationships and first encounters. Mismatched goals are linked to experiencing higher levels of anger and frustration, which may undermine effective interracial communication, even between otherwise well-intentioned, relatively unprejudiced individuals.
In Manitoba, similar emphasis on seeking respect and liking or moral approval have been observed with First Nations and White Canadians in the lab of Waterloo alum Jacquie Vorauer.