Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Carol T. Miller


Three studies examined prejudice as an explanation for the overrepresentation of Black Africans and the under-representation of native-born Black Americans in Ivy League institutions. I hypothesized admission officers may use Black Africans as a "cover" for their prejudice against Black American natives. The admission of more Black Africans may allow admission officers to express their prejudice toward Black American natives while maintaining an egalitarian image. In Study 1, although the Black African applicant was evaluated as more likable, competent, and had a greater chance of being admitted than the Black American native applicant, differences were only significant when compared with the White American applicant. In Study 2, the Black American native applicant was significantly less likely to be admitted when being directly compared to a Black African applicant (versus a White American applicant). Study 3, tested the boundary effects of Study 2 by exposing participants to an Affirmative Action statement. Similar to Study 2, the target Black American native applicant was significantly less likely to be admitted when in direct comparison with a Black African applicant. In Studies 1 and 3, levels of internal motivation and/or levels of external motivation to respond without prejudice significantly moderated the relationship between ethnicity and decision to admit. Furthermore, findings indicated that the decision to admit the target Black American native versus the competitor was dependent on perceptions of SES. Collectively, these studies offer evidence that the admittance of Black African applicants may provide a cover for discrimination against Black American natives. These results suggest that ethnicity, in addition to race, may affect the educational opportunities of minority group members.


The content of this thesis has been published as Asia T. McCleary-Gaddy & Carol T. Miller. "Preference for Second-Generation African Immigrants Over Native-Born Black Americans: A College Admission Simulation" Basic and Applied Social Psychology Vol. 40, Iss. 1, 2018



Number of Pages

84 p.