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Chapter 11

Chapter 11.docx

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Hilary B Bergsieker

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Psych. 253 Social Psych. Chapter 11 Sources of Prejudice - Prejudice exists even in the multi-cultural Canada - Experiment that looked at police officers found that they were 3.7 times more likely to stop Blacks and 1.4 times more likely to stop Aboriginal Canadians than white, and this patter occurred even when the officers ere aware that their stops would be evaluated for racial profiling The Nature and Power of Prejudice What is Prejudice? - Prejudice: a negative prejudgment of a group and its individuals (can sometimes be positive prejudgments but that’s rare) - Prejudice is an attitude: a distinct combination of feelings, inclinations to act, and beliefs - The negative evaluations that lead to prejudice are often due to false beliefs called stereotypes - Stereotype: a belief about the personal attributes of a group of people. Stereotypes can be overgeneralized, inaccurate, and resistant to new information. Some examples of stereotypes are: o Married women who keep their own surnames are seen as assertive o Older adults are seen ask likeable but less strong and active than younger adults o Europeans feel that Germans are hard-working, British are cool and unexcitable, Italians are amorous and the Dutch are reliable o In 20 countries in the Northern hemisphere, the northerners of the countries view the southerners of their country as being more emotional and more expressive - Stereotypes can be positive and negative and can sometime arise from fact (older adults are fragile) - Accurate stereotypes help us understand what to expect and how to get along in each culture - Problems with stereotypes arise when they become overgeneralized - Another problem is to attribute negatively evaluated differences to biology rather than the actual affecting factors, social forces o Women not being in fields like engineering as commonly as men may lead to the stereotype that women are not good at math or have good leadership skills, but studies suggest otherwise. Barriers that prevent women’s success are more things such as unfair evaluations and self-fulfilling prophecies - Prejudice is negative attitude; Discrimination is negative behavior. o Although behavior does follow attitudes, there are many times in which that’s not the case o Prejudiced attitudes need not breed hostile acts, nor does all oppression spring from prejudice - Racism and Sexism are institutional practices that discriminate o An individual’s prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward people of a given race (racism) / given sex (sexism), or institutional practices (even if not motivated by prejudice) that subordinate people of a given race (racism) / given sex (sexism) Prejudice: Overt, Subtle and Automatic - Overt expressions of prejudice have decreased in the last 30 years or so. Over forms of prejudice are tested by asking people direct questions like “Is it true that Blacks have gotten more economically than they deserve?” - Although overt expression of prejudice has decreased, subtle forms for prejudice are still widespread Subtle forms of prejudice - When hooked up to lie detectors, White students indicate racial attitudes and prejudice more than normally. People’s prejudice attitudes show up when its possible for them to hide it behind different reasons: such as rejecting immigrants for supposedly non-racial reasons - Subtle prejudice is called by some researchers as “modern racism” or “cultural racism” - Modern racism appears subtly, in our preferences for what is familiar, similar, and comfortable Automatic Prejudice - Prejudice is one of the best examples of the differences we have within our explicit (conscious) attitudes and implicit (unconscious) attitudes - Explicit attitudes can be changed through education - Implicit attitudes in regards to prejudice are acquired due to things we retain from childhood, such as habitual, automatic fear or dislike for people. Implicit attitudes linger for a longer time. - Many experiments have shown that prejudice can occur outside of people’s awareness - When primed with stereotypes of racial, gender or age groups, participants activated stereotypes without their inner awareness and caused them to react with more hostility to an experimenter’s (intentionally) annoying request - Another experiment showed how 9 in 10 White people took longer to identify pleasant words when associated with Black rather than White faces  they typically expressed little or no prejudice, but their response was unconscious and unintended Social Sources of Prejudice Social Inequalities: Justifying the Status Quo - Unequal status breeds prejudice: slave owners viewed slaves as being lazy, irresponsible, lacking ambition and felt that these traits justified the slavery  stereotypes rationalize unequal status - Six decades ago, stereotypes of blacks and women helped rationalize the inferior status of each: both groups were thought to be slow, emotional, primitive and contended with their role  therefore rationalized that Blacks were all right in their place and women belonged inside the home - European politicians also justified imperial expansion by describing the exploited people as inferior, requiring protection and a burden for the empire - Studies show that patronizing benevolent sexism (implying through statements that women are the weaker sex that need protection) undermined women’s cognitive performance by causing self-doubts, preoccupations and decreased self-esteem - We see other groups as competent or likeable, but usually not as both. We respect those who are competent and like those who are in a lower status than ourselves: nontraditional women and Asians are respected but not liked; Blacks and traditional women are liked but not respected. - Attitudes are adaptable: During WWII, Japanese who were viewed as enemies became “the Japs” but after the war was over, they became “the intelligent, hardworking Japanese” - Gender stereotypes help rationalize gender roles: Women if seen most times taking care of the young, it’s reassuring to think women are naturally nurturing; Men if seen most times running businesses, hunting and fighting wars, it is comforting to suppose men are aggressive, independent and adventurous - In experiments, people perceived unknown groups as having traits that suited their roles - If people could see the strengths and weaknesses in all group differences, positive and negative outcomes for all groups, the differences become glossed over and allow people to see the social system in a positive light - Individual differences in personality also seem to predict how much people justify the status quo - Those high in social dominance orientation (a motivation to have your own group be dominant over other social groups) tend to view people in terms of hierarchy o These people like to be at the top and will do things like choosing occupations such as those related to politics or business in order to maintain their high status o Status breeds prejudice, but some people seek to maintain status Socialization - Prejudice springs from unequal status and also from other social sources, including our acquired values and attitudes - Children’s automatic attitudes reflect their parents’ explicit prejudice - Our families and cultures pass on all kinds of information, including things like whom to distrust and dislike The authoritarian personality - In different studies of American adults, it was found that hostility towards one group, like Jews, often coexisted with hostility towards other minorities - Prejudice seems to be less attitude specific in regards to one group and more the way of thinking about those who are different - Ethnocentric: believing in the superiority of your own ethnic and cultural group, and having a corresponding disdain for all other groups. These people shared common authoritarian tendencies such as intolerance for weakness, a punitive attitude and submissive respect for their in-groups authorities - As children, authoritarian people often faced harsh discipline. This leads them to an inflexible way of thinking about what is right and wrong. They tend to be submissive to those in power over them and aggressive or punitive toward those beneath them - Authoritarian tendencies which are sometimes reflected in ethnic tensions seem to surge during threatening times of economic recession and social upheaval - Studies of right-wing authoritarians confirm the existence of individuals whose fears and hostilities surface as prejudice - People who are high in social dominance orientation and authoritarian personality tend to be the most prejudiced and often strive for status through manipulative ways while being dogmatic and ethnocentric and though rare, these people are most likely to be leaders of hate groups and most likely people to ignore all ethics in search for profit. - Authoritarianism and social dominance can coexist, but its rare because they have different ideological bases and functions: authoritarianisms appears more related to concern with security and control, social dominance orientation appears more related to a person’s group status. Religion and Prejudice - Religion gives people an excuse to carrying out their prejudice and inequalities: “God ordained it to be so” - Studies show that church members express more racial prejudice than non-members and those professing traditional or fundamentalist Christian beliefs express more prejudice than those professing less traditional beliefs - There is a correlation between religion and prejudice, but there is nothing about the causation in regards to the correlation. - If religion causes prejudice, then more religious church members should also be more prejudiced but studies suggest otherwise: o Faithful church attenders were less prejudiced than occasional attenders o Those who believe religion is an end in itself (agree with statements like “my religious beliefs are what really life behind my whole approach in life”) are less prejudiced than those for whom religion is more a means to other ends (like going to church for the sake of socialization). Those who scored high on Gallup’s “spiritual commitment” index are more accepting of a person of another race o Protestant ministers and Roman Catholic priests give more support to human rights than do laypeople. (In Germany during the holocaust, 45% of clergy aligned themselves with the Confessing Church which was organized to oppose the Nazi regime) - Therefore, religion can lead to prejudice but it can also lead to being unprejudiced Conformity - In order to conform to be liked and to fit in, people are likely to act in prejudiced ways (or non prejudiced ways based on what seems to be more accepted in their surroundings) - Studies of Whites in South Africa in 1950s show that those who conform most to other social norms were also most prejudiced and those who conformed least also mirrored les of the surrounding prejudice - Conformity also maintains gender prejudice: children who have seen women elsewhere, such as children of employed women, have less stereotyped views of men and women - Prejudice is not ingrained into personality, as fashions change and new norms evolve, prejudice can dissolve Institutional Supports - Social institutions (such as schools, government, the media) reinforce dominant cultural attitudes - Children’s books written before 1970 found there that male characters were portrayed as being brave, competent and showing initiative and outnumbered female characters 3 – 1 - Institutional supports for prejudice, like having children read books that showed men a brighter light and women as weak, are unintended and unnoticed until changing perceptions bring them to light - A type of institutionalized bias that we don’t normally notice is how many times in magazines, about 2/3rds of images of men are dedicated to their faces whereas less than half the of the average female photos were dedicated to their faces, this is also observed in artworks from six different centuries  the visual prominence given the faces of men and the bodies of women both reflects and perpetuates gender bias Motivational Sources of Prejudice Frustration and Aggression: The Scapegoat Theory - Pain and frustration often evoke hostility  when cause of intimidation or frustration is low, we redirect our hostility, “displaced aggression” - Lynching of Black slaves was more common in Southern U.S. when cotton prices were low and there was economic frustration. - Ethnic peace is easier to maintain during prosperous times - Targets for this displaced aggression wary: After WWI Germans blamed Jews and in earlier centuries people vented their fear and hostility on so called “witches”  passions provoke prejudice - The realistic group conflict theory suggests that prejudice arises when groups compete for scare resources (jobs, housing and so forth). One groups goal fulfillment becomes another groups frustration  opposition to immigration since 1975 in Canada has gone up and down based on unemployment rate - When interests clash, prejudice may be the result Social Identity Theory: Feeling Superior to Others - We define ourselves by our groups - Social psychologists proposed social identity theory and observed the following: o We categorize: We refer to people and ourselves in categories that are shorthand way of saying some other things about the person (a Scot, a bus driver) o We identify: We associate ourselves by our in-groups and gain self-esteem by doing so o We compare: We compare and contrast ourselves with out-groups with favorable bias towards our own group - We associate ourselves with our groups and seeing our groups as superior helps us feel superior as well by association - When people lack positive personal identity, they seek self-esteem by affiliating with groups and this can sometimes cause youths to identify themselves with gangs - When personal and group identity become fused, people become extremists that are willing to fight or die for their group (super – patriots) In-group bias - The more we see ourselves as part of a group, the more we see ourselves as not being a part of the out-group - The mere experience of being formed into groups may promote in-group bias (the tendency to favor your own group)  school children most times say the kids at their school are better. Just having the same birthday as someone else in a lab experiment causes more cooperation - We are always looking to be a part of a group and even the smallest correlation between ourselves and someone else will cause us to see each other as the in-group and others as the out-group and this leads to in-group bias and it takes very little to provoke this favoritism towards “us” and unfairness towards “them” - Experiment where British teens had to evaluate paintings, they were told someone they didn’t know favored the same painting as they did. Later when asked to divide up money to give out, they chose to give more money to those who liked the same paintings as them, even though they had no idea who any of the other participants were! This bias occurs in both the sexes, all ages and nationalities though more common in individualistic cultures. Communal cultures identify more with all peers and so treat everyone equally - We feel our group membership more conscious if our group is small and lower in status as compared to the out-group and we are surrounded by a larger group - Even when people are randomly placed in groups based on the flip of a coin, or similar middle names generated for participants through a computer, people still felt unity within their group - The more important our social identity is, the more strongly we are
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