Sometimes two negative stereotypes can conflict, with perhaps surprising results

Thanks to Shen-yi Liao’s comment on this post.

The Positive Consequences of Negative Stereotypes
Race, Sexual Orientation, and the Job Application Process
David S. Pedulla1

1Department of Sociology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
David S. Pedulla, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, 107 Wallace Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA. Email:

How do marginalized social categories, such as being black and gay, combine with one another in the production of discrimination? While much extant research assumes that combining marginalized social categories results in a “double disadvantage,” I argue that in the case of race and sexual orientation the opposite may be true. This article posits that stereotypes about gay men as effeminate and weak will counteract common negative stereotypes held by whites that black men are threatening and criminal. Thus, I argue that being gay will have negative consequences for white men in the job application process, but that being gay will actually have positive consequences for black men in this realm. This hypothesis is tested using data from a survey experiment in which respondents were asked to evaluate resumes for a job opening where the race and sexual orientation of the applicants were experimentally manipulated. The findings contribute to important theoretical debates about stereotypes, discrimination, and intersecting social identities.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes two negative stereotypes can conflict, with perhaps surprising results

  1. This is not surprising at all. But at least there is now a study that appears to confirm what would be fairly obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention. Also compare certain intersections of “race” and gender.

  2. Anecdotally, I suspect that the same will be true of lesbian women in the work place. The fact that this is not a typical female means that managers and leaders struggle to find stereotype rules and schemas that apply and therefore just have to accept them as another person rather than as typical women on whom they can effortlessly place expectations [limitations] of capability, attitude and behaviour.

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