Effects of atypical exemplars on racial beliefs: Enlightened racism or generalized appraisals?

Explored how media images of highly successful African-Americans affect Whites' beliefs about the economic or political status of African-Americans as a whole, in 3 experiments with a total of 282 undergraduates. Contrary to the enlightened racism perspective, Exp 1 revealed that prior activation of a successful, well-liked African-American exemplar resulted in increased perceptions of discrimination in contemporary society. Exp 2 replicated this effect and showed further that it is limited to successful exemplars who are well-liked. Exp 3 showed that the effect of successful, well-liked exemplars vanishes when Ss first think about the fact that the exemplars are atypical members of the group. Findings are discussed in terms of a generalized appraisal process in which momentarily salient outgroup exemplars influence intergroup attitudes, which in turn affect judgments and beliefs about the group via an attitude heuristic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)