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Chapter Three. Prejudice and Discrimination in the Individual. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003. Prejudice and Discrimination. Prejudice is the tendency of individuals to think and feel in negative ways about members of other groups.

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Chapter Three

Prejudice and Discrimination in the Individual

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

prejudice and discrimination
Prejudice and Discrimination
  • Prejudiceis the tendency of individuals to think and feel in negative ways about members of other groups.
  • Discrimination is actual, overt individual behavior.
  • Although related, they do not always occur together
  • Don’t necessarily have a causal relationship with each other.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Prejudice and Discrimination

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

prejudice
Prejudice
  • Two dimensions:
    • The affective dimension refers to the feelings, generally negative, that we associate with other groups.
    • The cognitive dimension of prejudice refers to the ways we think about other groups.
  • Stereotypesare generalizations about groups of people that are exaggerated, overly simplistic, and resistant to disproof.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Cognition and Categorization
  • Cognitionis the thinking process by which people categorize and analyze information.
  • Our “knowledge” that skin color can be used to judge others and our sensitivity to this characteristic reflect our socializationinto a race-conscious society with a long history of racial stratification.
  • Selective perception, the tendency to see only what one expects to see, can reinforce and strengthen stereotypes to the point that the highly prejudiced individual simply does not accept evidence that challenges his or her views.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Attribution Theory
  • Developed to describe how humans perceive and judge one another.
  • Based on the premise that we try to make sense of our observations of others and explain to ourselves why people behave as they do.
  • Sometimes we explain behavior by attributing actions to personality traits or internal dispositions.
  • At other times, we may see behavior as a response to a particular situation or to external factors.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

cognitive and emotional dimensions of stereotypes
Cognitive and Emotional Dimensions of Stereotypes
  • Robert Merton analyzed stereotypical perceptions of Abraham Lincoln, Jews, and Japanese and found that stereotypes can be identical in content but vastly different in emotional shading.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Types of Stereotypes
  • Two general stereotypes of minority groups (Pettigrew, 1980).
    • Inferiority tends to be found in situations, such as slavery, in which a minority group is being heavily exploited and held in an impoverished and powerless status by the dominant group—rationalizes and justifies dominant group control, discrimination, and/or exclusion.
    • When power and status differentials are less extreme, particularly when the minority group has succeeded in gaining some control over resources, had some upward mobility, and had some success in school and business, their relative success is viewed in negative terms—too smart, too materialistic, toocrafty, toosly, or tooambitious.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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The Content of American Stereotypes

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

gender and minority group stereotypes
Gender and Minority Group Stereotypes
  • Weitz and Gordon (1993) questioned several hundred undergraduate white students at Arizona State University about their perceptions of women and found sharp distinctions between “women in general” (a label that, to the students, apparently signified white women) and African American women in particular.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Theories of Prejudice
  • Theories that focus on personality needs as a cause of prejudice
  • Theories that view prejudice as primarily a result of being raised in a racist society and interacting in many social situations in which discrimination is approved
  • Theories that view prejudice as arising out of intergroup conflict

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Personality-Centered Approaches to Prejudice
  • Projection is seeing in others characteristics or feelings we can’t admit we have ourselves.
  • Scapegoat hypothesislinks prejudice to the individual’s need to deal with frustration and express aggression.
  • Authoritarian personality states that certain kinds of people requireprejudice to function effectively.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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The Authoritarian Personality

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Limitations of Personality-Centered Approaches
  • The scapegoat hypothesis is overly simplistic.
    • Frustration does not necessarily produce aggression
    • Displacement varies widely for different types of individuals
  • Authoritarian personality studies methodologically flawed.
    • Design biases
    • Researcher biases

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Limitations of Personality-Centered Approaches
  • Perhaps the most important limitation of personality-based theories is that they tend to focus on the individual in isolation and do not take sufficient account of the social setting or the context and history of group relations (Brown, 1995, pp. 31–36).

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

culture based approaches to prejudice
Culture-Based Approaches to Prejudice
  • See individual prejudice as the predictable result of growing up in a society that incorporates racist ideology, extreme racial and ethnic inequalities, and systems of exploitation based on group membership.
  • Rather than being an indicator of personality disorder or emotional maladjustment, prejudice is the “normal” result of conforming to racist environments.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Culture-Based Approaches to Prejudice
  • Research on the development of prejudice in children shows that racial attitudes are “caught and not taught.”
  • Research using social distance scales demonstrates that prejudice exists apart from individuals and that it is passed from generation to generation.
  • The importance of the social situation in which attitudes are expressed and behavior occurs is also important as what people thinkand what they do is not always the same.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Limitations of Culture-Based Approaches
  • No two people have the same socialization experiences or develop exactly the same prejudices.
  • Socialization is not a passive process; we are not neutral recipients of a culture that is simply forced down our throats.
  • We also learn egalitarian norms and values as we are socialized.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

focus on prejudice and sexism
Focus on Prejudice and Sexism

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Focus on Prejudice and Sexism

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Focus on Prejudice and Sexism

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Power Conflict Theories
  • Power conflict theories tell us something about the origins of prejudice.
  • Stress the idea that prejudice flows from competition between groups and then serves as a rationalization for exploitation and racial and ethnic stratification.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Power Conflict Theories
  • In the Robber’s Cave experiment, prejudice was the result of a conflictual situation between groups.
  • Marxist analysis argues that ideologies and belief systems are shaped to support the dominance of the elites—numerous situations in which prejudice was used to help sustain the control of elite classes.
  • Split labor market theory—higher-priced labor (usually consisting of members of the dominant group) will attempt to exclude cheaper labor from the marketplace whenever it can.
  • Prejudice exists because someone or some group gains by it.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Limitations of Power-Conflict Theories
  • Individuals who have no material stake in minority group subordination can still be extremely prejudiced.
  • The sources of prejudice can be found in culture, socialization, family structure, and per-sonality development as well as in politics and economics.
  • Prejudice can have important psychological and social functions independent of group power relationships.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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Types of Prejudice
  • Prejudice caused by personality needs—more constant and resistant to change.
  • Prejudice learned in response to socialization in a racist community—can be unlearned.
  • Prejudice that arises during the heat of intergroup competition—reduce competition.

© Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2003

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