As the United States—and much of the world—becomes more ethnically diverse, how can we all get along? For many, the obvious answer is multiculturalism, the belief that respecting cultural differences can create a more just and equitable society for all.
But new research provides evidence that promoting this philosophy can be highly problematic. In a sad irony, it finds exposure to a multicultural mindset prompts people to inflate the importance of race, bolstering the assumption that individuals can be fundamentally defined by their skin tone.
“Well-intentioned efforts to portray the value of differences may reinforce the belief that fixed, biological characteristics underpin them,” writes a research team led by psychologist Leigh Wilton of Skidmore College.
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