2) Common Sense Racism- This refers to work done on Social Identity Theory which assumesthat in-group favouritism automatically leads to discrimination.(more on S.I.D. later)3) New or Modern Racism- This does not view other groups as being explicitly deficient inphysical and/or intellectual ability but attempts to justify supposed differences in moresubtle ways, such as in regards their culture, and in espousing non-traditional values.Theories on the origins and maintenance of prejudice and discrimination are advanced bypsychologists, historians, sociologist and scientists .Scientists with the biologicaldeterminants, historians with regards past economic conflicts, and sociologists with broadpatterns of sociocultural factors. Though it is with psychologists and their theories at theindividual, group and societal level that we shall concern ourselvesThe first we shall discuss is at the individual level and concerns personality, which someclaim as the primary cause of racism. One of the more well known of these was advanced byAdorno et According et al(1950). According to them the origins of prejudice lie in what they
termed an ‘authoritarian personality’. He found using results from a battery of tests thatthose concerned with power, authority and obedience to be highly ‘ethnocentric’, meaning,
more concerned with those of their own national, ethnic, or religious groups to beacceptable. This results in hostility towards those who do not possess those attributes.Although once popular, personality theories have fell into disrepute. One of the mainreasons being the inability of such theories to explain prejudice at the level of large groupsand society. It may be also be of notealso that Rokeach(1960) points out that theauthoritarian personality is not only to be found with adherents of right wing politicalconservatism, but also with extreme political conservatism on the left. Rather thanexplained by an authoritarian personality, Rokeach goes on to explain that it is not anauthoritarian personality but a dogmatic personality, which is the factor. Dogmaticindividuals having a highly organized set of attitudes which are resistant to change in thelight of new information. Intolerant thinkers.Another causal explanation for prejudice concerns frustration, defined as coming about dueto being unable to achieve a desirable goal: which Dollard et al(1939) claims leads toaggression and scapegoating. When we are frustrated they claim, we need to find a targeton which we can vent our feelings of anger. If the actual target is not a suitable target, wemay displace that anger on to some thing/other that we already feel negatively towards.Laboratory studies have shown this to be the case, Outside of the lab, Hovland andSears(1940) found that, as economic conditions worsened in southern states of America, theamount of reported lynching and general white on black violence,increased. It must be noted however that, although frustration may exacerbatediscrimination, it does not cause prejudice.The next type of theory we shall discuss, is that relating to social cognition. You mayremember than in the previous instalments of this series we noted that, as cognitive misers,we take short cuts and categorize information, with a prototype image defining the standard
of each category. We may recall a person’s characteristics as according to the gener
alcategory in which we place them. That is, we tend to recall through stereotypes. We alsotend to accept information which confirms the stereotype and refute information to thecontrary. Eg When a prejudiced person meets a pleasant and likeable member of therejected group, they are likely to dismiss that person as being the exception to the rule. Thestereotype remains unchanged and our beliefs self confirmatory.