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Looking Māori predicts decreased rates of home ownership: Institutional racism in housing based on perceived appearance.

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PloS One, 10(3), e0118540

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This study investigates the impact of perceived stereotypicality (PS) on home ownership among Māori in New Zealand.

PS is defined as the degree to which a group is viewed stereotypically, possessing attributes typical of the group and lacking counter-stereotypic traits. The research focuses on whether Māori individuals who perceive themselves as appearing more stereotypically Māori are less likely to own a home compared to those who consider themselves less stereotypical. The study is grounded in international research indicating that minority groups possessing stereotypic attributes are more prone to discrimination. For instance, African American defendants in the US are more likely to receive harsher sentences based on stereotypically Black appearance. Similarly, this research posits that Māori, who are over-represented in negative social statistics in New Zealand, might face biases in housing due to their appearance. The research uses data from a national postal sample of Māori, analysed through logistic regression analysis. It includes a range of demographic factors and subjective elements of Māori identity to assess predictors of home ownership. The key finding suggests that Māori who perceive themselves as more stereotypically Māori are significantly less likely to own their home, even when controlling for various demographic and identity factors. The evidence suggests there is institutional racism against Māori in New Zealand’s home lending industry. The paper notes that these findings augur poorly for Māori development overall. As the authors conclude, “results from a large national probability sample of Māori indicate that the more Māori you look, the less ‘mortgage worthy’ you are.”

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