Lecture 6: Experiencing Prejudice
The Target’s perspective
A model of stigma
The self-protective properties of stigma
Negative consequences of stigma defenses
Movie Time (if time permits)
What’s it like to be a target?
―Good doll vs bad doll‖: Black kids preferred the white dolls over the black dolls, yet
they identified with the black doll.
Change of perspective
1998, shy 21yo gay man Mathew Sheppard in Wyoming walked into a gay bar was attacked
by two heterosexual men who lured him into their truck by pretending to be gay men.
Taken to a farm and pistol whipped in the head
Tied his hands to fence with his shoe laces
Left till next morning and died in hospital.
The Laramie Project
A play that tells the story of Mathew Sheppard
But what was it like for Mathew Sheppard living in a homophobic culture? Unanswerable.
More recently, research has focused on the perceiver of prejudice, rather than the doer.
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”
You must ask the victim not the doer when trying to understand the target’s POV
Stigma: Possession of a trait/characteristic (real or perceived) that is devalued by society
Stigmatized have ―spoiled identity‖: not morally right as other identities
Are discriminated against at various levels (behavioural, economic, etc.)
Types of stigma (Goffman, 1963):
1) Abominations of body: something about one’s physical chars leads to stigma
Eg) stigma against fat people, facial deformities, hyperhidrosis
2) Blemishes of character: something about the personality/mental state Mental disability (depression, anxiety), eating disorders (we judge super fat and super
3) Tribal markers: stigma based on race/ethnicity
Skin colour, clothing (burkas)
Males: The new targets?
―it’s his turn: men claim discrimination at work‖ – news article
Preferentially selecting groups for something
A model of stigma reactions
Major & O’Brien, 2005 * know this graph
Collective Representations: one’s culture, meta-stereotype (what are the stereotypes you
have about other’s stereotypes?)
Situational Cues: Cues communicating stigma relevance
Eg) are you in a classroom with many men or women?
Personal char: Individual differences in perception & appraisal
Threat Appraisal: Is Stigma relevant? Am I threatened?
Involuntary responses: anxiety, disruption, vigilance
Voluntary responses: ways of Coping with threat - blaming discrimination, limit social
Outcomes: Self-esteem, performance, health
Example: How do Muslims cope at the airport? (using the graph)
Collective rep (whats the culture like?) = In N.A. there are stereotypes associating
Muslims w/ terrorism especially around airplanes/airport.
Situational cues = In a line up about to go through security at an airport. They may strip
search me. Personal chars = am I religious? Am I wearing external markers of my religion? Do I care
or id with my religion? Do I care about being searched?
ID threat appraisal = Will the target person make an ID threat appraisal?
If your in an airport and your aware of these stereotypes and you have external markers,
you are more likely to undergo ID threat appraisal
More likely to worry or think youre being judged based on the group you id with, not as a
person, and thus seen incorrectly as a threat.
E = increased heartrate, racing thoughts, racing emotions; Muslim person prof say at airport
F = looking suspicious by trying too hard to look otherwise
G: successful security passage, incarceration, strip search etc.
Longterm negative effects on health, or a change in b (avoidance)
Stigma’s Self-Protective Properties
Stigma & Self-Esteem
Stigmatized are disadvantaged economically & interpersonally
Stigma should lead to lower self-esteem, right?
Reflected Appraisals: the way we feel about ourselves should reflect how others feel
Self-fulfilling Prophecies: internalizing the way other feel about us and so causing us to
act the way other’s believe we act
Stigmatized have the same or higher (!) SE than non-stigmatized
For some groups (BLACKS AND WHITES) there are no differences on S-report
How? Ref crocker.
Crocker & Major, 1989
Stigma can buffer self-esteem
Argue: Having a spoiled character can actually help your self-esteem
Story of how I became ―stigmatized‖ for protection (prof)
Affirmative Action- rules set in place to right wrongs
Eg) if youre coming from minority groups, you will be treated preferentially (it’s a
Eg) preferentially hiring
Prof couldn’t get a job, but knowing he was a victim of discrimination (via AA), it helped
him externalize the reason why he wasn’t getting hired. Thus saving his self-esteem.
3 effects of stigma: attributional ambiguity, disidentification, & ingroup comparisons
Blame discrimination instead of blaming one’s self to protect one’s self
Allows one to Discount negative feedback
Disengage self-esteem from stereotyped domain
Eg) saying ―math sucks‖ when you’re bad at math
Value dimensions where in-group fares well In-group comparisons
Limit comparisons to in-group members
Segregated environments: people will surround themselves with similar people.
By doing so, they can compare themselves with people who are in similar
situations/ who have similar stigmas.
Avoid painful comparisons
Crocker et al., 1991 study on attributional ambiguity
Hypothesis: Stigmatized can protect self-esteem by attributing negative feedback to
Eg) its not because of me, it’s because of prejudice that exists in that other person.
Blacks P to become ―friends‖ study with ―White P‖
P blackives Pwhiteinformation, and P whiteooks at Pblacks characteristics and then
judges whether they want to be friends with P blackr not.
Subjects receive positive vs negative feedback
P blackd P whitere kept in separate rooms the whole time though there is a window.
P blackills out a self questionnai