Interaction Between Race and Gender on Implicit Racial Bias Against Blacks

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA/Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


Background and aims: Exposure and vulnerability to racial discrimination is not solely a function of
race but the intersection of race and gender, with Black men experiencing more discrimination than
Black women. This phenomenon is explained by the subordinate male target hypothesis, suggesting
that majority men specifically target men of color. If that is the case, implicit bias would be most
common among the majority men. The current cross-sectional study investigated race by gender
differences in implicit bias against Blacks.
Methods: Data came from Harvard University’s Project Implicit, an online survey, conducted during
2006-2016. Data included 444 422 implicit association tests (IATs) which were taken by Blacks
(n=56 384) and Whites (n=388 038). Using IAT, the dependent variable was implicit bias against
Blacks. Independent variables were race, gender, and age. Using SPSS, linear regressions were utilized
to test the additive and multiplicative effects of race and gender on implicit bias against Blacks.
Results: Race (b = 0.39; 95% CI = 0.38-0.39) and gender (b = 0.05; 95% CI = 0.05-0.05) were
associated with IAT score suggesting higher implicit bias against Blacks among Whites and men. A
significant interaction was found between race and gender (b = 0.05; 95% CI = 0.04-0.07), suggesting
the highest level of implicit bias against Blacks among White men.
Conclusion: It is not solely race and gender but their intersection that shapes social distribution of
implicit bias against Blacks. This finding extends the previous literature showing that not solely race or
gender but their intersection influences exposure to discrimination.