Rejection as a call to arms: inter-racial hostility and support for political action as outcomes of race-based rejection in majority and minority groups

Br J Soc Psychol. 2012 Mar;51(1):167-77. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02040.x. Epub 2011 Jun 27.


Both majority and minority group members fear race-based rejection, and respond by disparaging the groups that they expect will reject them. It is not clear, however, how this process differs in minority and majority groups. Using large representative samples of White (N= 4,618) and Māori (N= 1,163) New Zealanders, we found that perceptions of race-based rejection predicted outgroup negativity in both groups, but in different ways and for different reasons. For White (but not Māori) New Zealanders, increased intergroup anxiety partially mediated the relationship between cognitions of rejection and outgroup negativity. Māori who expected to be rejected on the basis of their race reported increased ethnic identification and, in part through this, increased support for political action benefiting their own group. This finding supports collective-action models of social change in historically disadvantaged minority groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Female
  • Hostility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / ethnology
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / psychology*
  • New Zealand / ethnology
  • Politics*
  • Prejudice
  • Rejection, Psychology*
  • Social Change
  • Social Support
  • Social Values
  • Whites / ethnology
  • Whites / psychology*