Introducing the Sociopolitical Motive × Intergroup Threat Model to Understand How Monoracial Perceivers’ Sociopolitical Motives Influence Their Categorization of Multiracial People
Researchers have used social dominance, system justification, authoritarianism, and social identity theories to understand how monoracial perceivers’ sociopolitical motives influence their categorization of multiracial people. The result has been a growing understanding of how particular sociopolitical motives and contexts affect categorization, without a unifying perspective to integrate these insights. We review evidence supporting each theory’s predictions concerning how monoracial perceivers categorize multiracial people who combine their ingroup with an outgroup, with attention to the moderating role of perceiver group status. We find most studies cannot arbitrate between theories of categorization and reveal additional gaps in the literature. To advance this research area, we introduce the sociopolitical motive × intergroup threat model of racial categorization that (a) clarifies which sociopolitical motives interact with which intergroup threats to predict categorization and (b) highlights the role of perceiver group status. Furthermore, we consider how our model can help understand phenomena beyond multiracial categorization.