Lecture 6: Experiencing Prejudice I
What’s It Like to Be a Target?
Video shows black children being given black/white dolls to play with
• When asked, “Which doll do you want to play with?” – they’d choose the white
• When asked, “Which doll is the bad doll?” – they’d choose the black doll
• When asked, “Which doll looks like you?” – they’d choose the black doll, the one
that they’d previously chosen to be ‘bad’
Lack of representation in media? Stereotypes being internalized at a young age?
Change of perspective
Matthew Sheppard, young gay man, walked into a gay bar. Two heterosexual men,
pretending to be gay, picked him up and said they’d take him home. Instead, they took
him out to a farm and pistol whipped him – resulting in brain damage, trauma. They also
tied him up in a ‘crucifixion’ pose. Matthew wasn’t found until the next day and later died
• In the US, being targeted based on sexual orientation isn’t considered basis for a
hate crime, in some states.
The Laramie Project – play based on Matthew’s story
Let’s Look at the Target’s Point of View
Up until now, discussed perceiver’s point of view
• How do stereotypes emerge?
• How are stereotyped maintained?
• Who is most likely to be prejudiced?
• How has prejudice changed over time?
What are the effects of prejudice?
How do people cope with it?
“The lion’s story will never be told as long as the hunter is telling the story”
Stigma: Possession of a trait/characteristic that is devalued by society
• Stigmatized have “spoiled identity” • Are discriminated against – behavioural, economically
Types of stigma (Goffman, 1963):
• Abominations of body
o Cleft palate
• Blemishes of character – personality, mental state
• Tribal markers – race etc.
Men: the new targets?
Article – tired of women being treated differently
A Model of Stigma Reactions
Major & O’Brien (2005)
Collective Representations: culture, meta-stereotype
Situational Cues: Cues communicating stigma relevance
Personal: Individual differences in perception & appraisal
Threat Appraisal: Is Stigma relevant? Am I threatened?
Involuntary responses: anxiety, disruption, vigilance
Voluntary responses: Coping with threat, blaming discrimination, limit social
comparisons, disidentification Outcomes: Self-esteem, performance, health
Example – Muslims at the airport
Man wearing garb, looked incredibly nervous while at the airport.
• Collective representations: Muslims = terrorism, especially with airplanes
• Situational: have to talk to customs officer – I may be detained, searched etc.
• Personal: Do I care about my religion? How important it is to me?
• Threat Appraisal: I am wearing religious clothing in an airport. I am going to be
judged based on my religion and viewed as a threat.
• Involuntary: Nervousness, heart racing…
• Voluntary: What can I do? Stand still, don’t make eye contact
• Outcomes: Maybe go through security without problem? Maybe not being able to
go on the flight?
o Long term: constantly feeling this way at airports Prolonged stress can
lead to health problems. Changing behaviour so that he doesn’t fly
Stigma’s Self- Protective Properties
Stigma and Self-Esteem
Stigmatized are disadvantaged economically & interpersonally
Stigma should lead to lower self-esteem, right?
• Reflected Appraisals
• Self-fulfilling Prophecies
• Stigmatized have the same or higher (!) SE than non-stigmatized
• Not necessarily true for all groups but true for some
Crocker & Major (1989)
Stigma can buffer self-esteem
Story of how I became “stigmatized” for protection
• It’s not my fault that I’m not being chosen for jobs
• I am being stigmatized! (By the affirmative action policies in job hiring) 3 effects of stigma: attributional ambigu