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Prejudice as a Social Attitude

Social psychologists tell us that it is unhelpful in dealing with prejudice
  • to call people names ("racist" "White privileged" "implicitly biased") because such labels are experienced as coded language saying you and people like you will ignore me and my concerns.
  • persons of any group who are labeled react to such labels as attacks and become more defensive.

Rather, social psychologists suggest that allowing individual people to tell their own experiences and stories WITHOUT negative comments by others and WITH ACTIVE LISTENING can open dialogue or a space for discussion.

Personal experience of prejudice???

Prejudice-Melania Trump & Michelle Obama as

                Allport's Tha Nature of PrejudicePrejudice: A negative attitude against members of a group

Discrimination: Behaving differently (usually unfairly) toward members of a group.

Consider some of these prejudicial attitudes:

Where do such prejudicial attitudes come from?

1. Stereotypes

2. Learning from parents and wider culture via observational learning & operant conditioning; learning takes place mostly unconsciously

3. Biased attributions (Fundamental Attribution Error)

The "Just World" Phenomenon

1. Story of the Woman and the Ferry

 Character Responsibility
1st...2nd...3rd.. etc.
 Lover 1  
 Lover 2  
Ferry Boat

2. The Just-World Phenomenon
= tendency to believe that the world is just and that people get what they deserve.

3. Application: Blaming the victim for their misfortune

This page was originally posted on 11/17/04 and last updated on November 15, 2016