Adaptation of the Modern Racism Scale for use in South Africa

By Renier Steyn.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The assessment of an individual’s level of racism is important in a racially divided country, especially when assessing those in positions of power who are responsible for making fair and impartial decisions across race groups. The Modern Racism Scale (MRS) (McConahay 1986) is a measure of racial prejudice, and is often used in research in matters relating to this issue. However, the MRS is not useful in the South African context, as the items refer to concerns typical of the American situation, including the premise that racism is always directed towards black people. In this paper the process of adapting the MRS for South African conditions is described. Two versions of the MRS are presented: one measuring racism against black people, and the other measuring racism against white people. Evidence on the reliability and validity of the instruments is reported Results regarding reliability, bias on scale and item level, and central statistics are presented (N=184; N=166). Suggestions on the possible use of the instruments and future research are provided.

Keywords: Racism, South Africa, Psychometric Measurements

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp.175-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 801.985KB).

Prof. Renier Steyn

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa

Renier Steyn worked for 18 years as a psychologist in the South African Police Services and is presently a Associate Professor at the University of South Africa where he teach HRM and leadership topics. His academic interests are wide and include applied social psychology and research methodology. He obtained a Ph.D in Industrial and Personnel Psychology and a DLitt et Phil in Psychology. He is a registered research psychologist and a post-doctoral research fellow at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior situated at the University of California (UCLA).

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