Responses to Racial Violence: Unequal Expectations of Black Forgiveness

Catherine Crimmins, Katheleen Chavez, Noah Reed, Genevieve Bernard, Michael Perez, and Dr. Brandon Schmeichel, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 400 Bizzell St, College Station, TX 77843

Previous research in communication and religious studies has discussed the societal consequences of forgiveness for racism within the United States. Specifically, this research argues that when White people commit acts of racial violence against Black people, there is often an encouraged and normative expectancy of Black people to forgive these actions whenever they happen. This expectation surrounding Black forgiveness can be detrimental to racial equality. It has primarily been explored through the analysis of forgiveness rhetoric that is perpetuated in response to cases of racial violence; however, it has not been investigated through experimentation. The purpose of the present research is to empirically test this notion of expected Black forgiveness. We used a 2 X 2 between subjects factorial design in order to test this construct and collected participants from a student subject pool (current N = 298). In this study, participants read a hypothetical news story that contained a violent, racist event targeted at a victim that was either White or Black. Furthermore, in response to the event, the victim either publicly forgave or did not forgive his transgressor. Based upon previous research we hypothesize that individuals who forgive racism will be perceived more positively, and specifically, Black people who forgive racism will be viewed more positively than Black people who do not. A factorial ANOVA will be conducted to analyze whether there are significant differences in positive perceptions of the victim who forgave the transgression compared to the victim that did not. Implications of these findings for our understanding of the Black forgiveness expectation as well as qualitative information on participants’ opinions of the victims of racial violence will be included and discussed.



Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Catherine Crimmins, Katheleen Chavez

Institution: Texas A&M University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7063