Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Ana J. Bridges

Committee Member

Scott Eidelman

Second Committee Member

Ivan Vargas

Third Committee Member

Brandon Jackson


attribution theory, ingroup discrimination, internalized racism


Most research addressing racial/ethnic discrimination is focused on instances perpetrated by White people or someone not of the same race or ethnic background as the target (i.e., outgroup discrimination). However, based on theories of ethnic identity development and internalized racism, it is possible for people of color to discriminate against people in their own racial or ethnic group. The current study used a qualitative approach to 1) understand what people of color believe about racism and discrimination broadly and based on the race of the perpetrator, 2) describe under what situations (e.g., race of perpetrator or overtness/subtlety of the act) race-related negative behavior would be attributed to discrimination or racism, and 3) examine emotional responses to ingroup vs. outgroup discrimination. Adults of color in the United States (N = 39; 54% women), with average to high ethnic identity, were interviewed about their experiences with ingroup and outgroup discrimination. Results suggested that: (1) people of color believe that ingroup members can perpetuate racism and act in a discriminatory fashion towards other people of color, (2) racial discrimination through overt and subtle behaviors leads to more dispositional attributions of behavior for White perpetrators compared to more situational attributions of behavior for ingroup perpetrators, and (3) ingroup racial discrimination can lead to more feelings of hurt and betrayal due to its shocking nature compared to the expected nature of White perpetrated racism. The implications of this study suggest that white supremacy is insidious and affects people of color in ways (e.g., internalization of racism) that can lead to the perpetration of racism in their own communities.