02 - Identity and Biases 2.docx

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Identity and Biases 2
Barack Obama the first American president of African descent
Social role marked by its difference and unknowability, which in some ways is quite threatening to the
stability of the social structures you occupy.
Other in
Me/ not me
Identity: a relatively stable understanding of one’s self and its relationship to the surrounding world
Choices limited to what is acceptable within that particular culture.
Stereotyping: the process of categorising information for easier understanding / use
Group formation cultural identity aids group formation by defining what is good and what is bad;
who belongs and who doesn’t
Individual alignment with the group’s values, norms and social practices determines group
belonging, developing in-groups and out-groups
Benefits of group membership
o Protection
o Familiarity
o More efficient use of resources
o Division of labour/roles
o Increased efficiency
o Increased leisure time
o Entertainment, etc
In group: people with whom you share a strong, cooperative bond (us)
Out-group: everyone else (not-us)
o Social categorizing
o Stereotyping
o Ethnocentrism
o Prejudice
o Discrimination
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o Racism
Social categorising: cognitive process of sorting stimuli to negotiate social/cultural situations
Stereotyping: the consolidation of categories of information
Ethnocentrism: the preference of one’s own culture; validation of in-group as best, typical, or
Prejudice: performing attitudes or opinions towards others with limited or no knowledge of the
individual or situation usually based on faulty stereotypes, and arising from or responding to
ethnocentric attitudes
Discrimination: interfering with others based on prejudiced or ethnocentric attitudes
Racism: discrimination based exclusively on the concept of race (external factors of appearance not
connected to inherent characteristics)
Group formation is not inherently negative; however, the uncritical establishment (and enforcing) of
difference can have significant repercussions
Imperialism most European countries engaged in imperial conquest during 17th through the 20th /
21st centuries
They assumed the right to dominate other cultures because they believed themselves to be superior
according to two basic criteria:
Technology and religion
Similarly, slavery is rarely practiced against people of similar ethnic backgrounds, but it exercised
against outsiders
The Atlantic slave trade, primarily benefitting Europeans, almost exclusively targeted Africans
providing cheap labour in the American colonies
Ethnic cleansing and genocide are also based on the perception that differences in race and/or
ethnicity presuppose a right to destroy a group of people.
Some examples include: Bosnia, Rwanda,
Race and ethnicity are problematic concepts:
o Race is based on physical characteristics that give the appearance of relationship or
o Ethnicity is an association primarily based on shared beliefs, practices or history, such as
language, place or origin, religion, etc.
Race is generally assigned according to place of origin and is “corroborated” by similarity in physical
African / negroid
Native American
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