PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Likert Scale, The Strongest, Egalitarianism

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Published on 1 Feb 2013
1) Chapter 5 Old-Fashioned Versus Modern Prejudice
a) Where Have All The Bigots Gone?
i) A new perspective of prejudiced people as morally inferior human being emerged, and
Caucasians became aware of their strong prejudice toward other racial groups
ii) Prejudice is no longer a ‘natural thing’; it signifies that the individual chose that negative
view of certain others, either through moral defect, moral laziness, or both
iii) Stereotype is now understood as attitude, and not something inherent about being human
iv) From Katz and Braly to Civil Rights, and Beyond
(1) Katz and Braly’s landmark study in 1933 revealed that Caucasians held very negative
racial stereotypes about African Americans
(2) However, attitudes toward African Americans changed quickly, which corresponds to
the changes in the social, legal, and political climate of the United States
v) Are Low-Prejudice People Really Low-Prejudice?
(1) Several problems with the Katz and Braly’s adjective-checklist procedure:
(a) Subjects were predominantly white, upper-class males, which limit the
(b) The method requires the subject to rely on a rather controlled cognitive process in
which the individual is actively thinking about whether a particular trait ‘fits’ into
their schema for the group in question
(i) This is a limitation because much researches have shown that stereotypes are
activated automatically upon encountering the stimulus
(2) Another criticism is that the Katz and Braly procedure measure personal belief about the
truth of the stereotype, not the knowledge about stereotypes
(3) Subsequent researches have shown that the knowledge (not personal beliefs) about the
stereotypes of African Americans have not diminished over the years
(4) Overall, the available evidence suggests that stereotype themselves have not changed
over the last century, but the form in which they are expressed has changed
(5) With the civil rights movement, prejudice and stereotypes became subtle and subdued
(6) Ambivalence On the one hand, most Caucasians seemed to have an underlying
association between African Americans and undesirable characteristics and values, and
on the other hand, most Caucasians overtly embraced egalitarianism and non-
b) Modern Racism
i) Modern racism a subtle form of prejudice that is only expressed when the individual
believes it is safe, acceptable, or easily rationalizable
(1) For modern racists, the issue is not whether African Americans should be equal, but how
that equality should be implemented in policy, law, and employment
(2) Modern racists have a problem giving what they deem special treatment to African
Americans, because they believe it violates the work ethics
ii) Modern racists believe that:
(1) Discrimination is a thing of the past
(2) African Americans are too pushy, trying to get into places where they are not welcome
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(3) The demands of African Americans are unfair
(4) African Americans’ gains (via social programs) are undeserved and unfair
iii) Modern racists do not consider themselves to be racist for two reasons:
(1) They regard racism as associated with pre-civil-rights, “old-fashioned” racism, in which
open hatred and feelings of superiority are shown by the racist
(2) Their subtle negative feelings toward African Americans are disguised, in order to
prevent the dissonance associated with acknowledging the hypocrisy of prejudice and
egalitarian values
iv) Modern Racism Scale (MRS) was one of the most widely used measures of contemporary
prejudice toward African Americans
(1) However, there are criticisms to the MRS. The strongest criticism is that modern racism
is not conceptually distinct from old-fashioned racism
c) Symbolic Racism
i) Symbolic racism anti-African American prejudice originating out of the belief that African
Americans violate traditional American values
ii) Whites who would be classified as symbolic racists tend to resist changing racial status quo
in all areas of life
iii) The use of the term symbolic is used to describe this resistance that originates not out of
self-interest but out of the general belief that blacks violate traditional American values
iv) Symbolic racists also deny racist attitudes, as they believe that a racist is one who exhibits
“old-fashioned” racist beliefs
v) According to this belief, symbolic racists would have no problem with other groups if those
other groups were self-reliant, hard working, and individualistic
vi) Critics of the symbolic racism concept argue that:
(1) It is an ill-defined concept
(2) Other explanations, such as realistic group conflict and social-dominance theory can just
as easily explain Whites’ opposition to social programs that reduce the inequity
between Blacks and Whites
(3) Probably the most damaging attach on symbolic racism comes from the studies that
suggest that symbolic racism does not appear to be a distinct concept from more
traditional forms of racism
vii) However, symbolic racism still highlights the importance of the link between values and
racial attitudes
viii) Another research shows that symbolic racism is grounded in “Black individualism
d) Aversive Racism
i) Aversive racism anti-African American prejudice, in individuals who believe they are very
egalitarian, but who also have negative feelings and attitudes toward African Americans.
This prejudice is more likely to be expressed as ingroup favoritism, rather than outgroup
(1) Because egalitarian beliefs are central to the aversive racist’s self, they may deny
conscious awareness of their negative attitudes and prejudice toward African Americans
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(2) They will take great pains to not do anything that appears to be prejudiced, because
they truly believe that they are not prejudiced
(3) Their underlying biases may be expressed as pro-White behaviours, such as ingroup
favouritism, rather than old=-fashioned prejudicial expressions of outgroup derogation
ii) In contrast to “old-fashioned” racism, in which the racist openly displays hatred for, and
beliefs of superiority to, African Americans, aversive racists experience more subtle feelings
of “discomfort, uneasiness, and disgust” in the presence of African Americans
iii) The theory of aversive racism suggests that self-reported expressions of prejudice should
decline over time but that subtle, underlying prejudice should remain constant
iv) E.g., employers have no problem hiring a competent black candidate, but if faced with an
ambiguous black candidate, they would show preference for the White applicant rather
than the black applicant
e) Summary of Contemporary Theories of Prejudice
i) Symbolic and modern racism differ from aversive racism in that they are found primarily in
political conservatives, whereas aversive racism is associated with liberals
ii) However, all three types of racism are said to have been acquired during early childhood
iii) Another feature is the ambivalence that Whites feel toward Blacks. On one hand, they are
taught about stereotypes about Blacks from society, friends, and parents. On the other hand,
society also teaches them egalitarian and non-discrimination values. The clashes of
perception of how Blacks violates the values lead Whites to feel ambivalent toward Blacks
(1) Whether negative attitudes will be displayed will hinge on the context
f) Measures of Stereotyping and Prejudice
i) The Self-Report Questionnaire
(1) An efficient way to find out how people feel about something is to have them complete
a questionnaire themselves (i.e., self-report)
(2) Some drawbacks of the self-report measurements:
(a) The responses to the questions are usually restricted to the response alternatives.
Thus, researchers get a general, if somewhat imprecise, measure of the
respondent’s attitudes
(b) People do not always provide their true attitudes on self-report measures. The
sensitive nature of an issue may prevent people from being conscious or aware of
their true, underlying attitudes toward it. E.g., how racial attitudes changed over
time, from explicit racism to implicit, hidden racism
(3) The anxiety and cognitive dissonance that some people experience while being aware of
stereotype, may motivate such individuals to shut off those feelings from awareness
(4) Social desirability presenting oneself and one’s attitudes as very positive, in order to
give the most socially acceptable attitude/behaviour, even if it deviates from one’s true
(5) Social desirability is a big obstacle for the researcher, as the person who is providing
their attitudes is concerned with presenting responses that are socially acceptable and
hiding attitudes that are socially unacceptable
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