RWA, SDO and Race: A Study of Prejudice in South Africa


  • Michael R. Brubacher
  • Jim Sidanius
  • Fortunate T. Silinda


Right-wing authoritarianism is concerned with adhering to conventional norms, while social dominance orientation supports racial hierarchy. As such, if conventional norms are opposed to racial hierarchy, it is possible that RWA and SDO would function in opposite directions. In South Africa, a normative view regarding equal civil rights across races has been promoted since the fall of apartheid. Therefore, RWA and SDO might have opposite relationships regarding beliefs in equal civil rights. To test this, South African undergraduates completed scales measuring RWA, SDO and two types of prejudice: beliefs in inequality regarding civil rights and desires for racial separation. For Black participants, RWA was a negative predictor of inequality regarding civil rights but was a positive predictor of racial separation. For White participants, these relationships involving RWA were nonsignificant. On the other hand, SDO was a positive predictor of both prejudices for both Black and White participants. Overall, SDO was a consistent predictor of prejudice while RWA was more variable and even supported egalitarian views.