The Ordinary Conception of Race in the United States and Its Relation to Racial Attitudes: A New Approach

Many hold that ordinary race-thinking in the USA is committed to the 'one-drop rule', that race is ordinarily represented in terms of essences, and that race is ordinarily represented as a biological (phenotype- and/or ancestry-based, non-social) kind. This study investigated the extent to which ordinary race-thinking subscribes to these commitments. It also investigated the relationship between different conceptions of race and racial attitudes. Participants included 449 USA adults who completed an Internet survey. Unlike previous research, conceptions of race were assessed using concrete vignettes. Results indicate widespread rejection of the one-drop rule, as well as the use of a complex combination of ancestral, phenotypic, and social (and, therefore, non-essentialist) criteria for racial classification. No relationship was found between racial attitudes and essentialism, the one-drop rule, or social race-thinking; however, ancestry-based and phenotype-based classification criteria were associated with racial attitudes. These results suggest a complicated relationship between conceptions of race and racial attitudes.
Keywords race  racism  ordinary racial thinking  racial conceptions  one-drop rule
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Quayshawn Spencer (2015). Philosophy of Race Meets Population Genetics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:46-55.
Brian M. Donovan (2015). Putting Humanity Back Into the Teaching of Human Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:65-75.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Catherine Kendig (2011). Race as a Physiosocial Phenomenon. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (2):191-222.
Lawrence Blum (2002). Racism: What It Is and What It Isn't. Studies in Philosophy and Education 21 (3):203-218.
Michael Root (2001). The Problem of Race in Medicine. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (1):20-39.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #98,835 of 1,725,444 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #64,887 of 1,725,444 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.