Feature-Based Biases in Black Americans: Evidence from Focus Groups

Research on Afrocentric features bias has generally focused on the instigator’s perspective and examined how perceivers react toward Black Americans with different degrees of Afrocentric features. However, the effects of Afrocentric features from the target’s perspective are still unclear. We conducted 15 focus groups at two different institutions in the US to explore the nature of Afrocentric features bias in Black college students. Participants discussed a number of different words/phrases that exist within a Black community to describe skin tone, facial features and other within-group physical characteristics. In all focus groups, participants agreed skin tone is an important Afrocentric feature impacting lives of Black Americans. Participants also discussed their experiences with and perceptions of hair texture and body type. In contrast, participants did not elaborate on facial features such as shape and size of nose or lips. Implications for future Afrocentric features research are discussed.

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Author Information
Elena V. Stepanova, The University of Southern Mississippi, USA
Nao Hagiwara, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

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Added on Monday, July 18th, 2016

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Web Link: http://papers.iafor.org/papers/iaccp2016/IACCP2016_21122.pdf



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