Prejudice can also surface inadvertently in people's relatively automatic cognition (see Chapter 2). For example, Duncan (1976) had White students in California observe on TV what they thought was a live conversation between a Black man and a White man. The conversation degenerated into an argument in which one lightly shoved the other. When the White did the shoving, the behaviour was interpreted as playful: only 13 per cent of participants interpreted it as violent. When the Black did the shoving, 73 per cent interpreted the action as violent.
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days (from the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6) through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population.
administered an IQ test to elementary school children and told their teachers that the results of the test would be a reliable predictor of which children would 'bloom' (show rapid intellectual development in the near future). The teachers were given the names of the twenty 'bloomers'; in fact, the twenty names were chosen randomly by the researchers, and there were no IQ differences between bloomers and non-bloomers. Very quickly, the teachers rated the non-bloomers as being less curious, less interested and less happy than the bloomers: that is, the teachers developed stereotypical expectations about the two groups. Grades for work were consistent with these expectations. Sceptics simply did not believe this, so Rosenthal and Rubin (1978) conducted a meta-analysis of 345 follow-up studies to prove that the phenomenon really exists.
Harmful ACTIONS directed toward the
persons or groups who are targets of
Chinese American couple visited 250 hotels,
caravan parks, tourist homes and restaurants.
Refused service in only one
After returning home, 128 of the
establishments were asked “Will you accept
members of the Chinese race as guests in
92% No, 7% Uncertain, depends on
Sexism: almost all research on
sexism focuses on prejudice and
discrimination against women.
“The typical woman is seen as nice
but incompetent, the typical man as
competent but maybe not so nice”
Traditional sexism can sometimes be
difficult to detect now that is now
illegal and unacceptable.
Not in all countries: Taliban – women
denied the right to an education, in
Nigeria women have been sentenced
to death by stoning for infidelity, and
in many cultures there are
restrictions placed on women's
choices about their bodies and
Klasen (1994): sex-selective
abortions and infanticide have led to
76 million 'missing women'.
Discrimination on the basis of race or
Genocide is universal: in recent times it has
been carried out in, for example, Germany,
Iraq, Bosnia and Rwanda
Because explicit and blatant racism is illegal
and thus socially censored, it is now more
difficult to find.
New racism involves three components:
Denial – ‘there’s no racism anymore’
Antagonism to demands – ‘why should the
Resentment about special favours – ‘why
should there be affirmative action?’
Unobtrusive measures –
Social distance - how close, psychologically or physically, people are
willing to get to one another.
Another context in which underlying prejudice can emerge is when
prejudiced behaviour does not obviously look like prejudice.
Rogers & Prentice-Dunn (1981) had students shock a confederate of the
experimenter.The confederate was either Caucasian or African-
American, and either acted pleasantly toward the subject or insulted
them.The subjects in the experiment were all Caucasians.
When the confederate insulted the subject prior to the experiment, they
"shocked" African-American confederates at a higher level than
When the African-American confederate was not insulting, they were
less aggressive toward them than a white confederate.
Conclusion was that reverse racism was in effect without insults – they
were over-compensating for prejudicial views. But when under stress
the real views were expressed.
Prejudice can also surface inadvertently in
people's relatively automatic cognition.
The general principle underlying this
procedure for detecting prejudice is
The notion of automaticity is related to the
idea that categories and their stereotypical
attributes are implicitly linked in memory.
Mitchell (2002) identifies four
distinct generational stereotypes
Traditionalists (1925 and 1945),
are practical; patient, loyal and
hard-working; respectful of
authority; and rule followers.
Baby boomers (1946 and 1960),
are optimistic; value teamwork
and cooperation; are ambitious;
and are workaholic.
Generation X (1961 and 1980) are
skeptical, self-reliant risk-takers
who balance work and personal
Millennials (1981 and the present)
are hopeful; they value
meaningful work, diversity and
change; and are technologically
In general, since the late 1960s
there has been a progressive
liberalisation of attitudes
However, the AIDS epidemic has,
since the mid-1980s, whipped up
negative attitudes in some
sections of society towards
In California the existing right for
same-sex couples to marry was
actually overturned in 2008 –in
which 52 per cent of Californians
voted 'yes' on 'Proposition 8',
actively denying homosexuals
the same rights as heterosexuals.
A majority group freely make jokes about a
Speech is in terms of negative stereotypes and
negative images (hate speech).
Commonly seen as harmless by the majority, but
it sets the stage for more severe outlets for
People in a minority group are actively
avoided by members of the majority group.
No direct harm may be intended but harm is
done through isolation
Minority group is
Majority group vandalise minority group’s
property and carry out violent attacks on
individuals or groups.
Majority group seeks extermination of the minority group and
attempts to eliminate the entire group of people.
Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of Genocide
"Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the
following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Three types of behaviour that do not look
obviously like discrimination but nevertheless
may conceal underlying prejudices:
reluctance to help, tokenism and reverse
Studies show that reluctance to help is
manifested only in certain conditions:
specifically, when such reluctance can be
attributed to some factor other than prejudice.
Gaertner and Dovidio's (1977) foundWhite
participants were more reluctant to help a Black
than aWhite confederate faced with an
emergency, but only when they believed that
other potential helpers were present.
Tokenism refers to a relatively small or trivial
positive act, a token, towards members of a minority
Invoked to deflect accusations of prejudice and as a
justification for declining to engage in larger and
more meaningful positive acts or for subsequently
engaging in discrimination.
Criticism of the token employment of minorities by
organisations that then fail to take more
fundamental and important steps towards equal
Tokenism at this level can have damaging
consequences for the self-esteem of those who are
employed as token minorities
People with residual prejudiced attitudes may
sometimes go out of their way to favour
members of a group against which they are
prejudiced, more than members of other
For the researcher, the challenge is to know
when behaviour that goes out of its way to
favour a minority is reverse discrimination or
is actually a genuine attempt to rectify
A person has an awareness of judgments from others
and being treated stereotypically on tasks that really
matter to them.Thus they worry that through their
behaviour they may confirm the stereotypes.
Expectations and assumptions about a person that
influence our interaction with that person and
eventually change their behaviour in line with our
The most famous study of self-fulfilling prophecy is
Rosenthal and Jacobson's (1968) classic experiment
on teachers' expectations in the classroom.
Students were tested on their “potential to
intellectually bloom throughout the year”.
Teachers were told the names of the 20% of the
students who were predicted to ‘intellectually
bloom’. But it was a deception.The names were
chosen at random.
Rosenthal & Jacobson concluded that teacher
expectations can act as self-fulfilling
prophesies because students achievements
comes to reflect those expectations.
The conclusions of this study were
controversial. It has been criticized on
conceptual and methodological grounds.
There have been several attempts to replicate
this study but not all have been successful.
Mere exposure effect
Authoritarian personality (Adorno)