A major issue in the social psychology of race relations has been the axiom that blacks tend to manifest lower self-esteem than whites. Much of the empirical support for this hypothesis came from studies demonstrating that blacks are stigmatized and subjected to a variety of unpleasant and derogatory experiences. However, these studies are limited in two respects: first, by their use of small, nonrepresentative samples (primarily nursery school and kindergarten children) and second, by their reliance upon inferential (semi-projective) measures of self-esteem.

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