You are on page 1of 37

Social Psychology Chapter 9

Prejudice & Stereotypes

Rita Merhej Spring 2012

Overlapping terms:
Prejudice Stereotyping Discrimination Racism Sexism Segregation

Prejudice = preconceived judgment of a group and its individual members - Some prejudices can be positive - Most prejudices are negative Allport: an antipathy based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization

Prejudice is an attitude (ABC)

Affect = the feeling Behavior = discriminatory act Cognition = the belief I dislike people who are different from me, I behave in a discriminatory manner against them, as I believe them to be ignorant and dangerous

It is a belief and a generalization Not always negative Some may be true!

Some famous stereotypes: The Jewish Mother stereotype

nagging, overprotective, manipulative, controlling, smothering, and overbearing mother, persists in interfering in her children's lives long after they have become adults

The Japanese Mother stereotype: the KYOIKU MAMA

Translates literally as "education mother". Pushes her child to study, to the detriment of his social and physical and emotional development Goes to extremes to get her children a good education Least-liked pop-culture figure in contemporary Japan (analogous to American stereotype of the stage-mother who forces her child to showbusiness success) Blamed by the press for school phobias and youth suicides

Discrimination is a negative behavior

Stems from a negative prejudice Examples: Racism Sexism Segregation of disabled, of the ill

Is Racial Prejudice disappearing?

1942: There should be separate sections for Negroes on streetcars and buses 1980: 90% of Whites support school integration 1999: More than 9 in 10 Blacks and Whites say they would vote for a Black Presidential candidate January 20, 2009 Obama elected

Yet: Subtle forms of prejudice

Still widespread, difficult to see Called: Modern Racism or Cultural racism creates an image that is more politically correct: it is a polite form of racism (Sherman). It is acting unprejudiced while maintaining prejudiced attitudes: They hide their prejudice to avoid being called racist, but when a situation becomes safe, they express it.

Example in USA today:

Americans today say they are opposed to segregated education Yet a lot of white parents oppose busing their children in multi-racial buses. When questioned why, these parents say they dont want their children to spend a lot of time on a bus. But they dont object to having their children bused to school when the bus is plain white !

Todays Polite Racism: typical racist remarks are cloaked as compliments from people in power, often expressing surprise that minorities are talented, smart, attractive, and even "clean."

More examples of Modern (subtle) Racism

The glass ceiling effect (the "invisible" differences in salary, position, or appraisal experienced by women and minorities) The "positive" stereotypes such as: Blacks are athletic, Asians are intelligent. Denial: Rather than hurling racist insults, new racists deny there are problems of inequality and oppose moves aimed at advocating the rights of ethnic minorities (such as immigrants).

A new form of Racism: Euroscepticism

= criticism of the European Union (EU), and opposition to the process of European integration Euroscepticism is based on the notion that integration weakens the nation state In France many parties are more or less eurosceptic (= against EU intervention in national affairs, advocate outright withdrawal from the EU) The French extreme-right party : Le Front National (naturally opposed to the EU ) :France lost its political and economic sovereignty to a supra-national entity.

Automatic Prejudiced behavior

Unconscious associations based on cultural assumptions, negative or positive prejudices.
Examples: In a Swedish study (2007), applicants with Muslim names were never called for an interview by 193 corporate employers In the UK (2005) : a 27-year-old electrician from Brazil who had been working legally in Britain for 3 years was shot five times from close range by police officers because they mistakenly thought he was an Arab suicide bomber connected to the terror attacks in London . .

Gender prejudice
Undisputable conclusions: 1) Strong gender stereotypes exist 2) Members of the stereotyped groups accept these stereotypes (we learned to live with it) 3) Gender stereotyping is stronger than racial stereotyping 4) Gender stereotypes tend to exaggerate differences 5) Gender stereotypes have persisted across time and culture

Does this reflect an innate stable reality ?

Gender stereotypes are ambivalent: - favorable /benevolent - unfavorable/ hostile Benevolent sexism: Women have a superior moral sensibility (Eagly: the women-are-wonderful effect) Hostile sexism: Women are all bad drivers This ambivalence serves to justify the status quo in gender relations (balance)

The gender bias

Does it still exist? 1968: Goldbergs study showed that even women devalue women-authors, compared to male authors (women discriminate against women) 1980-1994: many replications of the study revealed no difference In the West, blatant gender bias has died but subtle bias has survived

Subtle gender biases

1941: in USA, 38% of parents said they prefer to have a baby boy if they could have only one child, 24% a girl, 23% no preference 2003: not much change in results with 38% still preferring to have a baby boy! Gender bias and advancement of medical technology (ultrasound) + availability of abortion unbalanced sex ratios in China, India, Taiwan, Singapore

Social consequences of unbalanced sex ratios

China (2007): 118 newborn males to every 100 girls = surplus of 40 million males unable to find female-mates (tens of millions of missing women!) Male excess predicts more traditional gender roles and higher violence rates

Gender Bias and Gender discrimination

Subtle forms of Gender Bias against MEN: - Shorter life-span (they die 5 years sooner) - More likely to commit suicide - More men on the battlefield - Higher crime rate - Higher prevalence in ADHD and Autism Bias against Women is more explicit: - At work - In Rights (in certain countries) - 2/3 of worlds unschooled children are girls (UN) - In political life leading to gender discrimination! Gender discrimination is very strong in non-democratic non-Western countries and makes for misery (In some countries, a raped woman is prosecuted for adulttery and even burnt alive!)

A contemporary example of subtle gender-bias (unnoticed sexism) Face-ism or facial prominence is the relative prominence of the face in the portrayal of men and women Research showed that media tend to feature more on mens face and womens body

Yet, some changes:

1937: Only 33% of Americans voted yes for a woman presidential candidate 2007: 90% voted yes 2008: Conservatives voted yes for Sarah Palin as vice-presidential nominee

Ambiguity of prejudices

We see others as: Either likable Or competent But NOT BOTH! Examples: Germans love Italians but dont admire them Italians admire Germans but dont love them Americans respect Jews but dont like them Men admire assertive women but dont like them

In general, people of lesser status and power are liked (we sympathize with them) but not respected (seen as incompetent)
we like people with disabilities but we will not hire them

Prejudice, politics & vocations

People in high-status positions tend to be prejudiced and support policies that maintain hierarchies and increase their status Such people usually like to work in politics and business (= professions that maintain social hierarchies) And avoid jobs like social worker (= oppose hierarchies, advocate equality)

Sources of prejudice

1.Social 2. Motivational

Social sources: Social inequalities Family disciplinary style Conformity

Motivational sources: The Scapegoat theory The Realistic Group Conflict theory The Social Identity theory

Social sources of prejudice

1) Social inequalities: unequal status breeds prejudice in such systems, prejudice justifies the power and control of the economically and socially superior (wealth & power) Examples: Blacks/Whites:19th Century exploitation of the Blacks was kept vivid as long as there was a prejudice against slaves (weak, lazy, inferior, must be controlled) Men/Women: Discrimination against women helps keep male patroniziation of society

2) Family Disciplinary Styles: children's racial attitudes reflect their parents prejudices Adorno (1950): children brought up in authoritarian families are highly likely to develop prejudices the authoritarian personality: submissive to those in power and aggressive/punitive toward those beneath them authoritarian personality is a common characteristic of ethnocentric people (= those who believe their ethnic group is superior)

9 traits of the authoritarian personality

(as the result of childhood experiences): conventionalist submissive aggressive superstitious stereotyped tough and destructive cynical (sarcastic) uses projection exaggerated concerns over sex

About authoritarianism
Authoritarian tendencies surge during threatening times of economic recession and social upheaval: in Russia today, authoritarian voices are calling for a return of Marxist-Leninist ideology, and are opposing democratic reform Authoritarian people can embrace different forms of prejudice (toward Blacks, gays, Muslims, immigrants)

3) conformity: we conform because we need to be liked and acceptedwe are forced sometimes to adopt the groups views Conformity maintains the gender prejudice (the nursery and the kitchen are the natural sphere of a woman)

Motivational sources of Prejudice

1) The Scapegoat Theory When you feel in pain or frustrated and cannot fight back the source of your pain or frustration, you redirect your hostility displaced aggression Examples: In Middle Ages, people directed their fears on witches After WWI, Germans blamed the Jews for the economic chaos After 9/11 attacks, Americans grew intolerant of immigrants and Middle-Easterners

2) The Realistic Group Conflict Theory: Competition can fuel prejudice When 2 groups are competing toward the same goal, when one group wins, the 2nd will develop hostility toward it Example: Low-income Americans feel prejudice toward immigrants taking their jobs When interests clash, prejudice will result

3) Social Identity Theory: We cheer for our group, we kill for our group, we die for our group Our group is our social identity: Based on: Categorization: we find it useful to put people into categories (hes a Scot,) Identification: we gain self-esteem by associating with a group (called the ingroup) Comparison: we are positively biased toward our ingroup in contrast to other groups (the outgroups). It is US versus THEM this is the ingroup bias the stronger my social identity, the more prejudice I will feel toward a threatening outgroup

Page Numbers in chapter 9

308- 309- 310 (top page)- 311- 312- 313314- 315- 316- 317- 318- 319- 320- 322 (conformity)- 323-324- 325- 326- 327(exclude bottom paragraph)- 329 (need for status)