psy450- chapters 23-25 richards.docx

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Published on 22 Apr 2012
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Chaps. 23,24,25- Richards
Chapter 23. psychology and the race
Intro:
- Many issues around this, one perturbing our culture is the notorious psychology in race
and IQ debate
- Race is not a psychological concept but it is seen as having a psychological dimension
- It is at the cultural level that genetic traits with no essential psychological meaning of
their own are given psychological significance
- D T Goldberg 1993 argues we should look at it pragmatically since it varies in character
over time, culture and circumstance should be used for any practise which has as its
effect intended or unintended the exclusion of a group from full access to the rights,
responsibilities and opportunities enjoyed by the majority
- Scientific racism emerged, when the evolutionary theory provided an apparently
scientific rationale for racial inequality
o Physically the human evolutionary process was widely held to have finished and
won in Europeans
o Civilization was seen as a natural phenom. And the pinnacle of development
European culture superiority seen as natural vs as cultural
o ‘Lower races’ diverse states of arrested development, evolutionary dead ends
o Anthros and biologists were unable to discover clear cut criteria to identify racial
groups
o Victorian interest in race much devoted to the difference euro races as non
white history can be seen as driven by racial competition
Psychology and racism:
- Psychology’s involvement came from Francis Galton; is optimistic (to a point) that lower
races are capable to improve (under white guidance)
o Tried to quantify levels of racial intelligence
o Galton was a major player, not just a follower of scientific racism but one of its
architects
- Herbert Spencer; the Spencer hypothesis= the amount of energy allocated to higher
functions of reason and will was much greater in whites than in ‘primitives’
- The thoughts on scientific racism were not universal in psych G. Le Bon; heredity was
the most important factor, which every race has its soul and the major races are
different species VS. G. S Hall; where lower races were not in a state of arrested
development but adolescence and would eventually reach maturity. Argued that we
should respect native cultures and build upon understanding on top of their beliefs and
customs (unfortunately when translated into practise this became the rationale for
segregation, separate education for blacks, Indians and black disenfranchisement)
- 20th century saw 2 major events in studying race differences;
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