Lecture 4 – Modern Prejudice
Stereotypes are efficient, fulfill motivations, and automatic
• They negatively impact targets
• Society has deemed stereotyping to be unsavory
• Suppress stereotypes
• However, the act of trying to not think about the thing makes you think about the
thing even more.
Mental control requires:
• Operating Process (OP)
o Takes action to meet desired state (prevent
o Resource-rich; controlled (this takes cognitive power)
• Monitoring Process (MP)
o Compares current state with desired states (scans mind for stereotypes)
o Resource free; automatic
Under load, OP fails, MP continues and results in opposite of intended thought
White bear experiment – Daniel Wagner the Arthur bit from Inception
Macrae, Bodenhausen, Milne, & Jetten (1994)
Hypothesis: Because suppressors activate the unwanted stereotype repeatedly (i.e.
MP), they will experience “rebound effect” (i.e. greater activation)
• One group had to suppress skinhead stereotype while another was asked to not
• Write “day in the life” of photographed person
• DV: Lexical Decision Task o Judge whether presented strings are words or non-words
o If construct is primed, will react to it more quickly
o Reaction Time for stereotypical words (e.g. aggressive, racist) is
o Note: Shorter reaction times = more activation = potentially more
Suppression can lead to rebound effects greater activation of thought than would be
the case if thought not suppressed
This affects thought and behavior
• Will this generalize to other groups?
• Will it predict real behaviors?
In a moment, repressing stereotypes can be helpful so that you don’t act out and
behave poorly. It will not be good in the long run, however.
Segregation in the US
Slavery abolished in mid-1800s. Still segregation carried on for years, very clear and
very overt. Back then, if asked about black people, it would be “Can’t have them near us”, today
people may not say that out loud but might still be thinking it.
‘Jew quota’ at McGill – certain amount of Jewish people could be admitted and after that
quota was filled, no more.
Chinese Head Tax – for people from China to immigrate to Canada, they had to pay
around $500 (back then, that was a huge amount of money). There was no Head Tax
for people from UK or France or whatever. Made it very clear who was accepted in
For a while, it looked like prejudice was decreasing it.
Polls show decrease in racism (overtly)
• Does this mean racism is thing of the past?
o Just don’t go online or anon chatrooms
It is no longer “fashionable” to be racist
Yet there is still resistance to integration
• Affirmative Action – aiming to correct historical wrongs
o More job postings, acceptances for groups that were historically wronged
o See this as ‘reverse racism’
Prejudice went underground and “modernized”
Modern vs. Old Fashioned Racism
Example – towards Chinese people
It is a bad idea for Chinese and Whites to Chinese people have more influence
marry one another upon the push for multiculturalism than
they ought to have
It was wrong for the government to outlaw There are too many non-English signs in
the Chinese Head Tax the city
If a Chinese family with the same income Chinese are getting too pushy in their & education moves next door, I would demands for government reparations
mind a lot
I favour full racial integration Chinese have gotten more economically
than they deserve
Chinese people should learn to speak The news media has shown more respect
proper English to Chinese than they deserve
MRs don’t consider themselves racist; racism is a thing of t