The Symbolic Racism 2000 Scale


Author of Tool: 

Henry, P.

Key references: 

Henry, P. J., & Sears, D. O.  (2002).  The symbolic racism 2000 scale.  Political Psychology, 23, 253-283.  

Primary use / Purpose: 

To measure symbolic racism.


The Symbolic Racism 2000 Scale is a modern measure of symbolic racism, described as a coherent belief system combining the following ideas: that racial discrimination is no longer a serious obstacle to blacks’ prospects for a good life; that blacks’ continuing disadvantages are due totheir own unwillingness to take responsibility for their lives; and that, as a result, blacks’ continuing anger about their own treatment, their demands for better treatment, and the various kinds of special attention given to them are not truly justified (see Sears, van Laar, Carrillo, & Kosterman, 1997). 


Each of the scales’ items reflects one of the four substantive themes of symbolic racism: work ethic and responsibility for outcomes,excessive demands, denial of continuing discrimination, and undeserved advantage. Most items were measured on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree), with the following exceptions: Items 1,2,5, and 12. The scale proves to be reliable and internally coherent. It has discriminant validity, being distinctively different from both older forms of racial attitudes and political conservatism, although with a base in both. It has predictive validity,explaining whites’ racial policy preferences considerably better than do traditional racial attitudes or political predispositions. Evidence is presented of its usefulness for both college student and general adult population samples, as well as for minority populations 



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