European Americans' intentions to confront racial bias: Considering who, what (kind), and why

Riana M. Brown, Maureen A. Craig, Evan P. Apfelbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Confrontation research has primarily focused on what drives individuals' intentions to confront strangers who express prejudicial attitudes (i.e., interpersonal bias; for reviews see Ashburn-Nardo & Karim, 2019; Kawakami, Karmali, & Vaccarino, 2019). However, bias manifests in multiple forms, including biased policies and institutional practices (i.e., structural bias) or bias perpetrated by close others (e.g., friends), and little is known about what factors impede (or facilitate) intentions to confront these different manifestations of bias. Across three experiments, European Americans reported wanting to confront instances of structural racial bias more than interpersonal racial bias. This was driven by perceptions that the examples of structural bias were more harmful and that confronting would be more effective in changing the perpetrator's behavior, compared with examples of interpersonal bias. Additionally, participants expressed greater intentions to confront friends over strangers (Studies 1–2), due to participants' perceptions that they personally would be effective confronters and that friends would be more receptive. This work provides insight into people's intentions to confront varying manifestations of bias, namely biased structures and close others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104123
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Close others
  • Confrontation
  • Prejudice
  • Racial bias
  • Structural bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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