Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 46

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN US - Cleveland the same university (made apparent by a baseball cap with the university’s logo) or white or black interviewers from the opposing university (made apparent by a baseball cap with the opposing university’s logo). All participants were asked to volunteer a few minutes of time to complete a brief survey. The researchers found that whites were willing to extend prosocial behavior (e.g., comply with the request to complete the survey) to white interviewers regardless of university affiliation. Presumably, this is due to the fact that whites categorized all whites as ingroup members, even when they were apparently rooting for the opposing team. However, whites were far more likely to extend prosocial behavior to black interviewers when they shared a university affiliation with them than to black interviewers who represented the opposing team. This research shows that a common ingroup identity—in this case, university affiliation—can positively influence behavior toward racial outgroup members. By simply expanding our ingroup categories, we begin to treat the “other” in more prosocial ways. Even though we perceive identity to be stable, the truth is that identity is constantly morphing, depending on the situation. Indeed, research has shown that identity salience is often determined by those who are around us. We are most aware of our identity when we are engaged in tasks or social processes that remind us of our identity. These tasks or social processes remind us that we identify with a particular group or social role, and we become consciously aware of this identification. When our identity as members of a specific cultural church group is salient, we attend to and recall cues in the social world that validate our group membership, excluding all others; we look for reasons to differentiate our group from other cultural church groups; we care about and engage with other members of our group; and we protect and advance the interests of the group. When these processes synergize, we are left with a stronger group identity but more pronounced divisions between our group and other groups. However, when our identity as members of the body of Christ is salient, the factors that once divided us become less powerful predictors of division. Gaertner and Dovidio are quick to point out that adopting a superordinate identity does not mean that one must completely forsake one’s less inclusive identity. They use the example of offensive and defensive squads on the same football team to demonstrate that one can conceive of two distinct groups within the context of a superordinate group. Further, they suggest that to reject important subordinate group distinctions (i.e., culture) is to lose important information about individuals and run the risk of being color-blind. Rather than rejecting the less inclusive identity, they suggest that individuals maintain dual identities, identifying with a subordinate group within the context of a superordinate group. This too is consistent with the metaphor of 45