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Lecture 5

PSYC 363 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Aversive Racism, White Supremacy, Racialization

Course Code
PSYC 363
Scott Neufeld

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PSYC 363 WK 5&6 Racism
- We often think of “racism” in simplistic terms
- Racism: “the explicit belief that other races are inferior” (eg White supremacy)
- Old vs New Racism: “Difference races naturally dislike each other”
- (Hopkins, Reicher, & Levine, 1997)
- Offensive racism: organized to create a racial hierarchy
- Supremacist Racism, Old-Fashioned Racism, Explicit Racism (wg
Whites are more intelligent than Blacks)
- Defensive Racism: organized to maintain a racial hierarchy
- Aversive racism, modern racism
Critical social psychology of racism
- Racism is fundamentally about power and inequality
- Much social psychology takes “race” for granted as a social category (ie
rarely interested in the process of “racialization” - how individuals come to be
categorized as members of a racial category)
- Ignores the fact that racial categories are constructed, often defined by power/
dominant groups
- The meaning of “race” as a social category is often contested, argued over, and
deployed strategically in some contexts differently than in others
still exist?

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The origins of the idea of racism
- Before and after “civilization” photos from Carlisle
Industrial School (precursor to residential schools) →
the point is indigenous fols can become like white folks
if we only give them the chance
- The idea of “racial hierarchy” was essential for justifying and sustaining the
slave trade, colonial genocide, and the theft of land from Indigenous peoples
- Race as a “social construct”: differences between racial groups are due to
social and cultural factors, NOT differences in biology
- Often, racial definitions are fluid, change depending on what is useful or
strategic for powerful/ dominant groups
- Examples
- Black (enslaveable) vs Indigenous (owed treaty rights)
- Irish, Italians, and Jews formerly “non-white” groups - that became white
Keeping racial hierarchy alive
- Why do we still have the idea of “racial hierarchy”?
- It takes work to maintain
- Racist leadership: defining social categories
- “Racists are seeking to maintain or extend their privilege and, as history
shows, they are all too skilled at doing it” (Reicher, 2007)
- Doesn’t exist everywhere: based on context
- Americanah!
- Johnson: Norwegian farmer is not “white” until he settles in BC, and
realizes the privileges that come from being white in a social system
organized around a white supremacist racial hierarchy
- Psychology has been complicit (Hopkins, Reicher & Levine, 1997)

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- Documenting supposedly innate differences in intelligence etc. between
racial categories
- Rapid shift to “understanding and reducing prejudice”
- Has often kept the focus on individuals (eg prejudiced personality)
rather than how racism is structured in society and institutions (Howard
& Hook, 20055, Leach, 2002)
- Stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination can be subtle!
Prejudice & Discrimination
- Prejudice: a NEGATIVE attitude toward members of socially defined groups
(Stephan, 1983)
- Some definitions include affect (emotions)
- Can be distinguished from discrimination:
- Involves behavior
- “The holding of decrogratory social attitudes or the display of handle or
discriminatory behavior towards members of a group on account of their
membership in that group” (Brown, 1995)
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