Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Anti-Black racism remains a major problem in contemporary American life, with deleterious consequences for Blacks. White allies possess social power to change the status quo by confronting racism. Although confrontation reduces biased behavior and prejudiced attitudes, many people refrain from spontaneously confronting. Persuasive appeals may encourage ally confronting. When these appeals are strategically framed in a manner that matches people’s regulatory orientation, they are expected to experience a sense of fit, which makes them feel better about the tasks they are engaged in. Two studies tested whether experiencing regulatory fit would enhance the persuasiveness of a pro-confrontation message. Participants were primed with a prevention or promotion regulatory focus before seeing a pro-confrontation message framed in terms of either approaching egalitarianism or avoiding prejudice. Results showed that relative to non-fit, experiencing regulatory fit did not affect feeling right about the pro-confrontation message nor did it produce shifts in confrontation behavior or future confrontation intentions. All participants felt right about the pro-confrontation message, and feeling right led to confrontation behavior (Study 2). A majority of participants in both studies confronted the racist comment. These findings indicate that encouraging White allies to speak up is effective at producing anti-racism behavior.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.