| PSY 101
Social IV: Issues of Prejudice
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: A negative attitude against members of a group
- 1954 Harvard psychologist Gordon Allport argued: Prejudice = "antipathy based on a faulty & inflexible generalization" [antipathy = a deep-seated feeling of dislike or hostility]
- Faulty means it is based on error, lack of facts, rumor, incorrect conclusions
- Inflexible means it is very difficult to change
- Generalization means it extends to most or all members of the group
Discrimination: Behaving differently (usually unfairly) toward members of a group.
- When the behavioral tendency of an attitude actually gets put into effect, the prejudice becomes discrimination.
- Allport's Levels of Expressing Prejudice
Consider some of these prejudicial attitudes:
Where do such prejudicial attitudes come from?
- Highly accessible cognitive schemas & easily activated
- Very resistant to change.
- High level of subjectivity in person perception
2. Learning from parents and wider culture via observational learning & operant conditioning; learning takes place mostly unconsciously
3. Biased attributions (Fundamental Attribution Error)
- Tappan & McKay (2016) "The Illusion of Moral Superiority" (see this link)
The "Just World" Phenomenon
1. Story of the Woman and the Ferry
Husband Wife 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
- Why are people poor? sick? raped? battered?
This page was originally posted on 11/17/04 and last updated on November 15, 2016