Prejudice: Disliking Others What is the nature & power of prejudice? Ψ Prejudice: A preconceived negative judgment or opinion of a group & its individual members. Ψ Prejudice is a negative attitude. Discrimination is a negative behavior. Ψ Stereotype: A belief about the personal attributions of a group of people. Stereotypes are often overgeneralized & inaccurate. They are resistant to new information Ψ In the U. S. racial & gender prejudice has significantly declined. It still exists both in subtle, unconscious forms as well as in overt, conscious forms. What are the social sources of prejudice? Ψ Unequal Status breeds prejudice. Ψ Social Dominance Theory is a social psychological theory of group conflict which describes human society as consisting of oppressive group-based hierarchical structures. According to the theory, individual people possess varying levels of preference for social dominance, which can be measured by the social psychological measure Social Dominance Orientation. Ψ Ethnocentrism: the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, & that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. Ψ The authoritarian personality does not want to give orders, their personality type wants to take orders. People with this type of personality seek conformity, security, stability. They are very intolerant of any divergence from what they consider to be the normal (which is usually conceptualized in terms of their religion, race, history, nationality, culture, language, etc.) Ψ Conformity: Once established, prejudice is maintained largely by inertia. If prejudice is socially accepted, most will follow the path of least resistance & conform to fashion. If prejudice is nor deeply ingrained in personality, then as fashions change & new norms evolve, prejudice will diminish. Ψ Institutional Supports: Social institutions such as schools, government, & the media may increase prejudice through overt polices such as segregation, or by passively reinforcing the status quo.
What are the motivational sources of prejudice? Ψ Frustration & aggression: The Scapegoat Theory: When problems occur, people do not like to blame themselves. They will thus actively seek scapegoats onto whom they can displace their aggression. Scapegoats may be out-group individuals or even entire groups. Powerless people who cannot easily resist will often become victims of scapegoating. Scapegoating increases when people are frustrated & seeking an outlet for their anger. The Realistic Group Conflict Theory: When there are limited resources, then this leads to conflict, prejudice & discrimination between groups who seek that common resource. Whenever there are not enough resources to meet the needs of two or more groups, there is a realistic probability that intergroup relations will deteriorate Carr (2003) Ψ Social Identity Social Identity Theory: proposes that the membership of social groups & categories forms an important part of our self concept. We categorize all groups. We identify (associate) with ingroups. We compare our social group with outgroups. Ingroup bias is the preferential treatment people give to whom they perceive to be members of their own groups. Terror management theory (TMT) suggests that people adhere to cultural worldviews & beliefs in order to suppress death & mortality-related thoughts. How to Avoid Prejudice By an eHow Contributor The Dictionary website defines prejudice as "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason." Although prejudice is mostly directed at a racial or religious group, it can also be directed at individuals for whatever reason. One has to be careful with prejudice because it is mostly based on unreasonable grounds and can be very hurtful to the person or group it is directed against. Here are some simple ways to avoid prejudice. Ask yourself how much you know about the person or group that you are prejudiced against. Where did you get your information? Try to understand your own inclinations. Why do you feel and act the way you do? Understanding yourself will go a long way in helping you avoid prejudice. Find out as much as you can about a person or group before you form an opinion. Often, pre-conceived ideas are formed from inaccurate assumptions. Give others the benefit of the doubt. If you heard something about an individual or group, get your facts from the person or members of the group directly rather than relying on information from another source. Many times information is distorted as it is transferred from one party to another. It also depends largely on who you are talking to. Have an objective attitude. Be open-minded and do not be quick to pass judgment. Try to get to know the person or the group. You may be surprised to find a new friend. Remember that it's the differences that make life interesting. Learn to be accepting and tolerant of other's differences. Treat others with respect; it not only reaps the same, but it also reflects a person's character. Avoid trying to change someone. Learn to have a different perspective and you may just make a difference in the way you treat others. What are the cognitive sources of prejudice? Ψ Spontaneous Categorization: We stereotype when Pressed for time Preoccupied Tired Emotionally aroused Too young to appreciate diversity Ψ Perceived similarities & differences Outgroup homogeneity effect: The tendency to perceive out-group members as "they are all alike" compared to the in-group is called the out-group homogeneity effect. We do see diversity in our own group. Ψ Distinctiveness: Distinctive people & vivid or extreme occurrences often capture attention & distort judgments. This sometimes breeds stereotypes. Ψ Attribution: The just-world phenomenon, refers to the tendency for people to believe that the world is "just" & so therefore people "get what they deserve." It wrongly colors our impression of "victims" of any sort. What are the consequences of prejudice? Ψ Sterotypes are Self -Prepetuating! Subtyping: Accommodating individuals who deviate from one's stereotype by thinking of them as "exceptions to the rule". Subgrouping: Accommodating individuals who deviate from one's stereotype by forming a new stereotype about this subset ot group. Ψ The self-fulfilling prophecy: where a belief (often false) is accepted as truth, & in stating it, becomes true. Ψ Stereotype threat is "the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype," such as the stereotype that women perform poorly in math. Steele explains that some students try to escape stereotype threat by disidentifying with the part of life in which the stereotype originates, such as race or ethnic identities. The article defines what an academic community can do to reduce or completely eliminate stereotype threat - increase the degree of racial trust, or the assurance of racial fairness in assessment. From: "Thin Ice: 'Stereotype Threat' and Black College Students," by Claude M. Steele, The Atlantic Monthly http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99aug/9908stereotype.htm Ψ Do stereotypes bias the judgments of individuals? YES, but individuals are evaluated more positively than their groups. Strong stereotypes matter. Stereotypes bias interpretations & memories. --------------------------------------- Social Psychology Robert C. Gates We are each burdened with prejudice; against the poor or the rich, the smart or the slow, the gaunt or the obese. It is natural to develop prejudices. It is noble to rise above them. ~ Author Unknown