CH.5: Old Fashioned vs. Modern Prejudice
Where have all the bigots gone?
- In the past, hostility against other races was common as it was the norm but then from 1920s
it was seen as a moral defect, mental laziness, or both.
- If the basis of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination was a negative attitude and not
something inherent about being human, then if we can understand nature of those attitudes
we can understand the nature of stereotyping and prejudice and be in a much between
position from which to address ways to reduce or eliminate stereotyping and prejudice.
- Old fashioned racism is the type of openly hostile prejudice that characterized much of the
segregated southern U.S prior to the landmark Supreme Court rulings of the 1950s and the
civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. there was astate sacioned segregation of
blacks and whites in all public places.
From Katz and Braly to Civil Rights, and Beyond
- With their study, rsrchers obtained their first view of the content of racial stereotypes that
Caucasians held about African Americans. Negative traits were attributed to African
Are Low-Prejudice People really low-prejudice?
- Niemann, Jennings, et al point to svrl prblms with Katz and Braly procedure 1. Subjects were
predominatnyl white and upper-class males so it can’t be generalized 2. Method requires the
subject to rely on a raher ctrlld cognitive process in which the individual is actively thinking
abt whether a particular trait “fits” into their schema for the group in questions. Niemann
suggest tht the checklist might have an influence on the stereotyping.
- Other rsrchers did the study and found words tht participants used in opened method were
diff frm the words the participats checked in Ktz and Braly. Other rsrchers included values
assigned to words generated, and these values are analyzed to indicate the degree of
favorability and unfavorability of characterizations of the target. This technique is known as
the adjective generation technique (a good way to ascertain the content of stereotypes at a
given point in time). The differences in words generated from time A to B can indicate how
stereotypes of the target grp may be changing.
- Other rsrchers said it doesn’t measure knowledge abt stereoypes but rather personal beleifs
abt the truth of the stereotype
- Progress has been made in reducing negative personal beliefs tht Caucasians have about
African Americans. Negative steretypes of African Americans tht used to be common in the U.S
has not been diminised according to Deine and Elliot. Their data suggest when Caucasians are
asked abt their knowledge (not personal beleifs) abt stereotypes of African American, their
responses indicate a higher degree of negativity in the traits selected as stereotypical of
African Americans. Although personal beliefs in negative stereotyping of African Americans
decreased, knowledge of cultural stereotype of African Americans has remained the same Modern Racism
- McConhay: the theory of modern racism asserts that some whites are ambivalent toward
African Americans, conflicted between their anti-Black feelings and their beleifs that racism
and discrimination are wrong.
- 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’re not welcome 3. The demands of African
amercians are unfair 4. African Americans gains (bolstered by social programs that provide
economic, housing, and other opportunities) are undeserved and unfair
- Modern racists don’t think they’re racists because 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, as negative attitudes toward anyone who violated wht they believe are
traditional American values
- The theory of modern racism is empirical and the self report scale (Modern racism scale) that
McConahay devised to measure this subtle prejudice has been shown to have fair reliability
- The strongest criticism is tht modern racism is not conceptually distinct frm old fashioned
- Kinder and Sears have proposed a different approach to understanding the origins of
prejudice of contemporary towards Afr. Americans. They suggest tht old fashioned overt
racism has been replaced with what they term symbolic racism
- Symbolic racism is defined as a blend of anti-black effect and traditional American moral
values embodied in the Protestant Ethic. So whites as symbolic racists would resist changing
the racial status quo in all areas of life (economically, socially, and politically). 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 (such as self-reliance,
individualism, hard work, obedience).
- Symbolic racists would deny holding racist attitudes because in their view, a racist is one who
exhibits old fashioned racist beliefs of the inherent superiority of one race over another as
well as neg affect toward a grp based on such beliefs.
- The negative affect and attitudes tht symbolic racists may hold toward another grp are
converted into derision for grp tht do not seem to value traditional American values.
According to this position, symbolic racists would have no problem with other grps if those
grps were self reliant, hard working, and individualistic. Hwever, because their view of how
closely the other grp is adhering to those values is tainted by their prejudice, it is unlikely that
grp would ever be précised as adhering to those ideals
- Symbolic racists are able to keep their neg affect and stereotypes of the outgrp, and even
express these sentiments overtly, while still claiming that the source of such neg evaluation is
an objective diff btwn whites and the outgrp in their support of traditional American values - Critics of the symbolic racism concept argue that 1. It is an ill-defined concept 2. Other
explanations, such as a realistic grp conflict and social dominance theory can just as easily
explain Whites’ opposition to social programs that reduce the inequity btwn Blacks and
- Eagly and Chaiken and Wood have noted that one of the redeeming qualities of the theory is
that it rightly highlights the importance of the link btwn values and racial attitudes. Rsrch by
Katz and Hass indicates that value conflict in Whites leads to ambivalent attitudes toward
Blacks and it would be interesting to explore what implications this ambivalence may have for
the strength with which prejudicial feelings and beliefs are held.
- A recent paper by Sears and henry presented results from svrl studies designed to further
refine theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of symbolic racism. Rsrch showed symbolic
racism is grounded in what they call “Black individualism” which is a concern that Black do
not live up to conservative values and the value of individualism.
- Gaertner and Dovidio used the term to describe White Americans who possess these racist
beliefs and feelings alongside strong egalitarian values. Thus, it reflects an ambivalence in
Caucasians btwn their learned negative attitudes (from early childhood to adulthood) toward
African Americans and their commitment to egalitarian values and beliefs
- Egalitarian ideals and beleifs are central to the aversive racist’s self, they deny conscious
awareness of their negative attitudes and prejudice toward Afr. Americans. Underlying biases,
they have ingrp favouritism toward pro-White behaviours rather than outgrp derogation
- In contrast to old fashioned racism, the racist openly displays hatred for and beliefs of
superiority to Afr Americans, aversive racists experience more subtle feelings of discomfort,
uneasiness, disgust, and sometimes fear in presence of African Americans
- Their recent paper, even comparing