College Students’ Negative Stereotypes About Black Men Persist Based on What They’re Wearing

A new study lead by researchers at Oregon State University finds that while more formal clothing may deflect certain racially biased assumptions, many people still hold negative stereotypes about Black men based on what they’re wearing.

In an experiment, college students were asked to look at photos of Black male student-athletes in different styles of clothing: championship T-shirts from their recent soccer victory; sweatpants and sweatshirts; and more formal button-down shirts and slacks. Results showed that participants judged the models to be more hardworking and more intelligent when they were wearing formal attire than when they wore sweatpants.

Researchers were surprised by results that showed no improvement in perception of the Black models wearing their soccer championship shirts. “We really thought, ‘Man, this should be the best category.’ What’s disheartening is that, even showing this clear evidence of success, of competence, it still did not shake stereotypes,” said Regan A.R. Gurung, a psychology researcher in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University and the lead author of the study.

The full study, “Can Success Deflect Racism? Clothing and Perceptions of African American Men,” was published on the website of the Journal of Social Psychology. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. Here’s a classic example of another inherently flawed so-called “research study”. For those who dissent, I never heard any White academics or White students say that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t look “hardworking or less intelligent” for wearing the same t-shirt and dungarees everyday. This flawed study just reveals the racist proclivities White colleges students have of Black men after years of being exposed to nothing but distorted and racist negative stereotypes of years in the US. The facts remain, the problem is not native born Black American males, but, miseducated White Americans.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Voorhees University Launches Its First Doctor of Education Degree Program

The new doctor of education in leadership program will offer two specialized tracks for students, preparing them to become successful leaders in their chosen educational field. Students can choose to focus their studies on either PK-12 education or higher education administration.

Fielding Graduate University Honors Ronald Mason for Lifetime Achievements in HBCU Leadership

Ronald Mason has served as president of three HBCUs: Jackson State University, Southern University and A&M College, and the University of the District of Columbia, where he was the longest tenured president in the university's history.

Tuskegee Partners with UTHealth Houston for Accelerated Graduate Program in Biomedical Informatics

Tuskegee University has partnered with UTHealth to provide students with an accelerated graduate degree in biomedical informations. The "4+1" program will allow students to potentially earn a bachelor's degree, graduate certificate, and master's degree in just five years.

Eight African Americans Selected for Administrative Roles in Higher Education

Here is this week’s roundup of African Americans who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

Featured Jobs