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PSYC12H3 (294)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Psychology of Prejudice

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

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 generalization (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- discrimination 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 (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 derogation (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 (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 Bl
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