Black employees are perceived as more professional when they adjust their behavior to mirror White norms
A new study suggests that Black employees who adjust their styles of speech, name selection, and hairstyles to mirror White norms are perceived as more professional in the workplace. The findings come from a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
The United States’ deep history of racism and the domination of White people in professional settings has led to a bias against Black individuals in the workplace. With Whiteness being associated with professionalism, Black employees are perceived as less competent when presenting with physical characteristics and speech patterns that are associated with Blackness.
A research study led by Courtney L. McCluney aimed to explore how a Black person’s decision to either adjust their behaviors to mirror White norms or not influences the way they are perceived in professional contexts. This behavior adjustment, referred to as racial codeswitching, is commonly adopted by marginalized groups who feel pressure to conform to the norms of the dominant group to gain respect in professional spaces.