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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.Copyright 2018: The Authors. Published in Journal of Applied Social PsychologyPublished by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Although dominant group allies have been increasingly studied by social psychologists interested in positive intergroup relations and the promotion of social justice, most of the existing research focuses on self-identified allies or dominant group individuals who are engaging in social justice activities. Little comparative work has examined white allies who were specifically identified as such by people of color. Two studies assessed qualities associated with affirming attitudes (low prejudice, high internal motivation to respond without prejudice, allophilia, and awareness of privilege) and informed action (activism) expected to be distinctively characteristic of allies. Nominated white allies in Study 1 had lower prejudice and higher levels of internal motivation to respond without prejudice than nonnominated white participants; this was replicated in Study 2, which compared nominated “allies” and “friends.” In Study 2, nominated white allies rated themselves as lower on prejudice than nominated white friends. They also scored higher on internal motivation to respond without prejudice, understanding of white privilege, and activism than nominated white friends. There were no differences on self-reported allophilia between the two groups. Allies were rated by the people of color who nominated them as higher on qualities of outgroup affirmation and informed action than were nominated friends. Limitations of and implications for these findings are discussed.

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