Two negative attributes cancel each other in job hunt
A gay black man may not be as disadvantaged as a gay white or a black straight man in securing a job as was presumed. Researchers now indicate the negative attributes associated with being both a black man and a gay may cancel each other out.
Gay men are stereotyped as effeminate and weak, and black men are often assumed as threatening and aggressive.
The study challenges the theory that membership in multiple marginalised groups leads to more discrimination than being a member of a single such group. Researchers found that negative attributes of the two stereotypes can cancel each other out.
For the study, researchers asked 231 white participants in the US to suggest a starting salary for an applicant for a fictional job as an assistant manager at a large retail store.
Participants were also asked questions about the applicant to measure how "threatening" they perceived the applicant to be.
The participants recommended lower starting salaries for straight black men and gay white men than for straight white men, indicating a salary penalty for being black or for being gay, said David Pedulla of Princeton University in the US.
"However, there is no salary penalty for gay black men, who receive higher salary recommendations than straight black men and salary recommendations on par with straight white men," Pedulla noted.
"There is some evidence that gay black men are perceived as less threatening than straight black men and that this difference accounts for a piece of the salary recommendation difference between these two groups," he said.
The study appeared in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly.
(Posted on 16-05-2014)