Working with Disadvantaged Groups – Do Group-Blind Attitudes Hinder or Foster Diversity Engagement?

Achia, T. (Relationships Australia Queensland [RAQ] & University of Queensland), Louis, W.R. (University of Queensland), Petch, J. (Relationships Australia Queensland [RAQ]), Lohan, A., (Relationships Australia Queensland [RAQ])

The endorsement of group blind ideologies by advantaged group members is associated with negative outcomes such as implicit bias, modern racism, low support for equality initiatives and downplaying instances of inequality. However, more recent work has demonstrated that such attitudes might be used by advantaged group members more strategically than previously thought in the service of mitigating inequality. The present study sought to examine the varying associations of group-blind attitudes. The study was conducted in the context of a human services organisation with administration, middle management and clinical workers (N = 185). Overall, the group were found to be low on social dominance, high on egalitarian values, and expressed high levels of ideological and behavioural allyship with disadvantaged groups. A nuanced picture of group-blind attitudes emerged, where it was significantly associated with both inequality denial and inequality acknowledgment, as well as allyship and high levels of enthusiasm for the organisation’s diversity statement and plan. Group blindness was also associated with denial of historical factors affecting present-generation diverse groups and yet also associated with high self-reported confidence in engaging with diverse disadvantaged groups. Implications for further theorising and application will be discussed.

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Close Relationships and Individual Differences