Social dominance theory proposes that societies advantage dominant groups objectively, with laws and public allocation systems that suit dominant group ways of being better than subordinate group ways of being (Pratto & Stewart, 2012). This implies that members of powerful groups do not realize that they are privileged because it is difficult to recognize acts of discrimination not personally experienced (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Because dominance seems more normal and acceptable for members of dominant groups than for members of subordinate groups, people expect dominant groups to more openly accept hierarchy-enhancing social policy (Johnson, 2006; Pratto & Stewart, 2012). Examples are norms, policies, and practices associated with a social institution that result in different outcomes for certain social group members, such as the outcomes of court cases or laws enacted by local, state, or national legislatures (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1995; Jones, 1997).
Benokraitis, N. V., & Feagin, J. R. (1995). Modern sexism: Blatant, subtle, and covert discrimination (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Johnson, A. G. (2006). Privilege, power, and difference (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Jones, J. M. (1997). Prejudice and racism (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Pratto, F., & Stewart, A. L. (2012). Group dominance and the half-blindness of privilege. Journal of Social Issues, 68, 28-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01734.x
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.