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Exposing The American Dilemma: How Aversive Racism Plays a Part in Homicide News Reception

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This study examined whether news stories about violent shooting homicides impact implicit and explicit attitudes about race. To explore these relationships, the authors used a 3 (race: White, Black, control) × 3 (role: victim, perpetrator, control) × 3 (multiple messages) mixed factorial design. The study found that high social dominant-oriented (SDO) individuals expressed more empathy in general, with the most empathy toward Black perpetrators in homicide news stories in comparison to low SDO individuals. Ironically, for high SDO individuals, perpetrators in the stories received more explicit negative Black stereotyping than victim in the stories. These findings indicate that aversive racism occurs in the processing of news stories. This has practical implications for journalists because stereotyping and bias in news coverage could reinforce aversive racism.

KEYTERMS: aversive racismsocial dominance orientationempathyexplicit stereotypingstereotypingcrime newslocal news

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