Exposing The American Dilemma: How Aversive Racism Plays a Part in Homicide News Reception

Erika K. Johnson, Seoyeon Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study examined whether news stories about violent shooting homicides impact implicit and explicit attitudes about race. To explore these relationships, the authors used a 3 (race: White, Black, control) × 3 (role: victim, perpetrator, control) × 3 (multiple messages) mixed factorial design. The study found that high social dominant-oriented (SDO) individuals expressed more empathy in general, with the most empathy toward Black perpetrators in homicide news stories in comparison to low SDO individuals. Ironically, for high SDO individuals, perpetrators in the stories received more explicit negative Black stereotyping than victim in the stories. These findings indicate that aversive racism occurs in the processing of news stories. This has practical implications for journalists because stereotyping and bias in news coverage could reinforce aversive racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-319
Number of pages23
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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