Bigger than Black and White: The Biracial Advantage and Employment Discrimination

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Bigger than Black and White: The Biracial Advantage and Employment Discrimination

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Disparities in Black and White employment outcomes in the United States have been well-documented and persist despite decades of anti-discrimination efforts through adaptations to human resource management practices. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this dissertation investigated the differences in employment outcomes of monoracial Black and monoracial White job individuals in the U.S. by introducing another group of comparison – their Black-White biracial counterparts. Although Black-White biracial individuals are often categorized as Black in U.S. society, this dissertation is based on the prediction that Black-White biracial individuals may have better employment outcomes than monoracial Black individuals in the workplace, referred to here as the “biracial advantage.” This advantage may be explained by a comparatively higher alignment with White culture. Using U.S. data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1997 cohort (NLSY97), Study 1 found that monoracial Black and Black-White biracial individuals receive similar, yet lower starting wages than monoracial White individuals. However, as tenure increases, the rate of growth of wages is higher for Black-White biracial employees than for the other racial groups, leading to employment outcomes more similar to White employees over time. Study 2 was an online experiment that investigated perceived White cultural alignment (PWCA) as a mechanism contributing to differences in outcomes amongst racial groups. The second study found support for the theories that (a) while race and White cultural indicators influence PWCA, information regarding one’s parents’ races does not; b) PWCA positively influences employment outcome recommendations; and c) White cultural indicators are positively related to monoracial Black and Black-White biracial candidates’ PWCA and employment outcome recommendations, but these relationships are not stronger for Black or Black-White biracial candidates than for White candidates.



University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2023. Major: Business Administration. Advisor: Colleen Flaherty-Manchester. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 376 pages.

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Edmondson, Brandy. (2023). Bigger than Black and White: The Biracial Advantage and Employment Discrimination. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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