A hero for the outgroup, a black sheep for the ingroup: Societal perceptions of those who confront discrimination

Maja Kutlaca, Julia Becker, Helena Radke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Confrontation of discrimination can be seen as a form of morally courageous behavior, however those who engage in it presumably risk societal backlash. In three experiments, we examined societal perception of those who engage in confrontation of sexist (Study 1 and Study 2) and racist advertisement (Study 3). We tested two competing hypotheses. First, prior research on confrontation of discrimination suggests that members of disadvantaged groups who confront injustice (i.e., targets) should be judged more harshly than members of advantaged groups who confront (i.e., allies). Second, by drawing upon the insights from the work on do-gooder derogation, we proposed that allies and targets risk societal backlash, but more so from ingroup members than outgroup members. In Study 1, we found that disadvantaged group members evaluated an ally more positively than advantaged group members. Study 2 and Study 3 revealed that the audience had a positive view of confronters. However, members of advantaged groups supported allies less than targets, whereas members of disadvantaged groups preferred allies over targets (Study 2) or supported them equally (Study 3). Thus, our findings provide more support for the second hypothesis and we discuss their implications for the literature on moral courage, confrontation and do-gooder derogation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103832
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2020


  • discrimination
  • moral courage
  • do-gooder
  • derogation
  • allies targets


Dive into the research topics of 'A hero for the outgroup, a black sheep for the ingroup: Societal perceptions of those who confront discrimination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this