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Why are people prejudiced?. “Short people got no reason to live.” —Randy Newman. 140 JOB-PLACEMENT OFFICERS were asked to choose between 2 applicants. identical qualifications, but one was described as 6’1,” the other as 5’5”. 102 judged the taller applicant to be better qualified.
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“Short people got no reason to live.” —Randy Newman
140 JOB-PLACEMENT OFFICERS were asked to choose between 2 applicants. • identical qualifications, but • one was described as 6’1,” the other as 5’5” 102 judged the taller applicant to be better qualified. 1 preferred the shorter.
5,000 MEN with 25 years experience in different careers: How much money were they making? • Men who are 5’6” or 5’7” • Men who are 6’0” or 6’1” The taller men were earning $2,500 more.
Starting salaries of male librarians: • Men divided into two ways: • Over 6’ and under 6’ • Top half of their class academically and bottom half Salary difference was 3 times greater in the short/tall comparison.
U. S. Presidential Elections Only two presidents have been shorter than average for males of their time. (James Madison and Benjamin Harrison) Since 1904, the shorter candidate has been elected only once.
Heavier women earn less: Sample of 1,442 white female workers Heavier women (65 pounds heavier) earn 7% less. But . . . this was not true for African-American or Hispanic women.
Morals: 1. Prejudice may be unconscious. 2. We are very good at making up “objective reasons” to justify our prejudiced judgments.
Stereotypes • Jews • Gays • African-Americans • Women
Like other ethnic groups, Southerners have differed from the national norm: they have been poorer, less well-educated, more rural, occupationally more specialized. They also differ culturally in important respects; and their political behavior has been distinctive. Although Southerners are not usually identifiable by name or appearance, their accent usually serves as an ethnic marker. . . . They are seen, and see themselves, as less energetic, less materialistic, more traditional and conventional, more religious and patriotic, more mannerly and hospitable, than other Americans. John Shelton Reed, in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephen Thernstrom (Harvard University Press, 1980), 944-45.
“All men are created equal . . .” Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence (1776)
He [the King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opproprium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. —Thomas Jefferson, draft of the Declaration of Independence
The Principle of Equality Individuals are to be treated in the same way.
The Principle of Equality Individuals are to be treated in the same way unless there is a relevant difference between them.
Relevant Differences: • Whether a difference is relevant is a matter for rational assessment. • Whether a difference is relevant depends on the type of treatment in question.
Criteria of Relevance The Ability to Benefit: Individuals may be treated differently if there is a difference in their abilities to benefit from (or to be harmed by) the type of treatment involved. Desert: Individuals may be treated differently if there is a difference in what they deserve.
Two Assumptions: 1. People in one group will often have something to gain by treating members of another group differently. 2. Everyone accepts the Principle of Equality.
Stereotypes supply the (fictitious) “relevant differences” needed to make the mistreatment of individuals consistent with the Principle of Equality.
HOW STEREOTYPES ARISE I have something to gain by treating the members of another group differently than the way in which I want my own group treated. Therefore, I am motivated to treat them differently. But, I believe in the Principle of Equality. Therefore, I cannot treat them differently unless there is some relevant difference between them and me. But, no such differences exist.
This means that, if I am to treat them differently, I must persuade myself that there are such differences. So I persuade myself. To make it easier to persuade myself, I draw upon facts, distorting and exaggerating them. And that’s where the stereotypes come from. (And that’s also why they are so hard to dislodge—because if a person abandons these beliefs, he/she will also have to abandon the conduct that the beliefs “justify.”)