Racism and Discrimination in the Marketplace


Special issue of the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research; Deadline 1 Oct 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: James Ellis


Issue Editors: Jerome D. Williams, Samantha N. N. Cross, and Stephanie Dellande
Journal of the Association for Consumer Research | Volume 8, Issue 1

New attention is needed for the often overlooked and undervalued consumers. Marketing strategies that ignore or disenfranchise minority consumers present a managerial and public policy problem. It is no longer a viable strategy for companies to ignore racism and discrimination. At this historical moment, the private and public sectors must enact strategies and policies that ensure active interest in, and respect for, diverse marketplaces throughout the globe. This special issue on Racism and Discrimination in the Marketplace seeks papers that highlight different perspectives on the causes, motivations, and consequences of marketplace racism and discrimination.

We conceptualize racism and discrimination in the marketplace broadly and view it as encompassing any marketplace provider’s adverse behavior that leads to some cost to the provider and the targeted consumer(s). Racism and discrimination can be defined in different ways, based on the field of study.  In our view, racism implies conscious or unconscious belief (e.g., implicit bias), or an attitude, similar to the concept of prejudice, but specifically prejudice based on race. Discrimination, on the other hand, implies behavior toward an individual or group viewed unfavorably or as inferior.

Racism and discrimination that are often manifested in marketplace contexts have received much media attention lately. However, racism and discrimination can also be manifested in marketplace contexts but do not attract much media attention; for example, behaviors of majority and minority consumers toward minority-owned businesses, behaviors of minority-owned businesses toward minority and majority consumers, racism and discrimination within specific industries such as banking, high-tech, healthcare, etc. In this call, we are especially interested in work that examines racism and discrimination in the marketplace as they relate to decision making, choice, and purchase  from the discriminating provider by both majority and minority consumers.

Submissions to this issue must advance the readerships’ understanding of the ways in which racism and discrimination may adversely impact consumer behavior. For example, what factors may lead consumers to engage in marketplace behaviors that endorse, ignore, reject, or oppose discriminating policies and practices? What are the key cognitive, motivational, and emotional drivers of racism and discrimination? Are there differences in the behavior of the individual or groups of consumers who have been discriminated against versus not by a provider? What are the consequences of adverse actions of providers who engage or have engaged in discriminatory practices? Manuscripts that help to answer questions such as these are particularly welcomed.

Relevant topics on racial and discriminatory marketplace behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • How do firms’ communications, and larger CSR efforts, related to racial injustice and movements like Black Lives Matter impact different groups of consumers?
  • How do consumers deal with conflicting messages and actions taken by firms on racial injustice?
  • How are racism and discriminatory practices manifested in firm advertisements?
  • What frameworks are useful to understand the experiences of contemporary Black consumers?
  • How are pervasiveness of racism in the marketplace, consumers’ experiences of microaggressions and macroaggressions, consequential to the firm?
  • (Re)producing Racism, i.e., how are institutions and marketplaces (re)producing the knowledge structures and mechanisms that enable the perpetuation of racism in markets and the perpetuation of racialized consumer experiences?
  • Understanding the multiracial consumer in today’s marketplace. For example, how does the intersection of race, gender and trustworthiness of the provider play out in healthcare?
  • How are brands (un)intentional advocates for/against racism and discrimination?
  • Invisible sources of racism such as algorithms and platform biases that become part of technologies are affecting consumers/consumption. For example, there seems to be an alarming tendency for brands to use exclusion words in their bought promotions (“ad-blocking”), e.g., “Black people” as well as topics related to BLM. How do consumers respond to exclusionary messages and firm discriminatory behavior?

We welcome submissions on these and other topics that relate to Racism and Discrimination in the Marketplace. We seek papers with conceptual and theoretical contributions. We also encourage different methodological approaches, including traditional experiments, field studies, qualitative methods, and quantitative approaches.

Racism and Discrimination in the Marketplace Boutique Conference

We would also like to announce that we will be holding a Boutique Conference on Racism and Consumer Discrimination in the Marketplace in the Summer of 2021. Our plans at this time are to hold a traditional in-person conference; however, based on prevailing conditions, the conference may be virtual. The goal is for participants to present their work and get feedback before submission to the journal. Presenting at the conference does not guarantee that a paper will be accepted to the special issue (and not presenting does not mean that a paper will not be accepted to the special issue!). Presenting at the conference might be beneficial in terms of honing the research for the intended target issue. We are limiting presenters to those who already have their Ph.D. In the interest of providing mentorship of young scholars with an interest in this topic, we will extend invitations to a limited number of Ph.D. students to attend the conference. ACRF, the Prudential Chair at Rutgers, and the Ph.D. Project are providing funding to support Ph.D. student attendance.

If you would like to be considered as a presenter for the conference, please submit a Word document containing: the title of the project, the names and affiliations of the authors, and a 500-word abstract detailing the research. Submissions can be e-mailed to Jerome Williams, Samantha Cross, or Stephanie Dellande by March 1st, 2021.

Publication Details

Papers appearing in the issue should not exceed 8,000 words. Submissions will receive double-blind peer review. Author guidelines may be found at the JACR home page. Authors who would like additional information about the issue, the conference, or would just appreciate feedback on a potential project are encouraged to contact the issue editors.

Editorial Timeline

Submission Deadline for Boutique Conference March 1, 2021
(Virtual) Boutique Conference June 2021 (final dates TBD)
Deadline for Initial JACR Submission:  October 1, 2021
Deadline for Final JACR Manuscripts:  September 15, 2022
Publication January 2023

Editor bios and submission instructions can be found here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/journals/jacr/forthcoming-8.1