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Tokenism/Psychology of Tokenism

In any social group, a category of people (e.g., women, people of color) may be underrepresented. When this discrepancy is extreme (less than 15% of the group), those individuals are considered to be token representatives of their group. If someone is the only group representative, she or he is defined as having solo status. Anyone can be a token or solo if underrepresented in a group, such as two men in a workplace of women. However, as a result of poor treatment from majoritygroup members, being a token or solo from a lowstatus group (e.g., racial minorities, women) is often associated with negative outcomes, such as increased depression and social withdrawal.

Visibility, contrast, and role encapsulation are three challenges faced by tokens. First, tokens are more ...

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