inequality, race, gender, wealth

Chronic frames of social inequality

How social inequality is described—as advantage or disadvantage—critically shapes individuals’ responses to it. As such, it is important to document how people, in fact, choose to describe inequality. Using multiple methods and research contexts, we find that race and gender inequalities are chronically described as subordinate groups’ disadvantages, whereas wealth inequality is chronically described using no frame or as the dominant group’s advantage. Moreover, these differences in chronic frames are related to the perceived legitimacy of the inequality domain. The presence of such chronic frames and their association with perceived legitimacy may be mechanisms underlying the systematic inattention to White individuals’ and men’s advantages, and the disadvantages of the working class.