Status Ambivalence Inhibits Change

Social Scientist John Jost studies the beliefs and ideologies that justify our status in the world, whether it be high or low. In recent research, Jost has merged two longstanding but contradictory theories about how disadvantaged minorities view themselves. A concept Jost calls “attitudinal ambivalence” explains why members of low-status groups, such as African Americans or women, can be both proud and ashamed of who they are—at the same time. This ambivalence serves to perpetuate inequality and to prevent people from rejecting stereotypes and taking action against inequality.

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