Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 44

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN US - Cleveland the way that we perceive individuals in the intergroup context.42 The mere act of forming homogenous groups leads to inaccurate perceptions and distinctions that lead to identity wars, intergroup separation, and intergroup conflict that prevent us from fully engaging our identities as members of the superordinate group of the body of Christ. It seems that the solution lies in expanding the boundaries of our “ingroup” to include others in the body of Christ. Indeed, to the extent that other members of the body of Christ are included in our primary ingroup, we will automatically treat them better. Noted groups researcher John Turner once said that “the attractiveness of an individual is not constant, but varies with group membership.”43 In accordance with this idea, Lowell Gaertner, Jack Dovidio, and colleagues have proposed the common ingroup identity model: “if members of different groups are induced to conceive of themselves as a single group rather than as two completely separate groups, attitudes toward former outgroup members will become more positive through the cognitive and motivational forces that result from ingroup formation—a consequence that could increase the sense of connectedness across group lines.”44 Numerous studies have revealed the benefits of an inclusive superordinate identity. In one study, Gaertner, Dovidio, and colleagues surveyed students at a multiethnic high school.45 Among the students surveyed were AfricanAmerican, Chinese, Caucasian, Hispanic, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, and Vietnamese students. They found that students who perceived the student body as “one group” or as “different groups playing on the same team” (i.e., a dual identity) were far more likely to express positive feelings toward other ethnic groups. Other research shows that the process of categorizing a person as an ingroup member rather than as an outgroup member led to more 42. Dominic Abrams and Michael A. Hogg, “Comments on the Motivational Status of Self-Esteem in Social Identity and Intergroup Discrimination,” in Hogg and Abrams, Intergroup Relations, 232–244. 43. John C. Turner et al., Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 60. 44. Samuel L. Gaertner and John F. Dovidio, “Understanding and Addressing Contemporary Racism: From Aversive Racism to the Common Ingroup Identity Model,” Journal of Social Issues 61 (2005): 628. 45. Jason A. Nier et al., “Changing Interracial Evaluations and Behavior: The Effects of a Common Group Identity,” Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 4, no. 4 (2001): 299–316. 43