Low Prejudice/High Prejudice

Something about our last conversation in contemporary racism was bothering me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew it had something to do with how we had discussed the low prejudice versus high prejudice participants in Hodson, et al (2002). We discussed how “high prejudiced” participants from a sample of college students really represents the “low prejudiced” end of the general American population. We discussed that this is due to college students generally holding more egalitarian beliefs. I think there are several aspects of this conversation that didn’t get teased out, simply because of time constraints, but … Read more

Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn

For our contemporary racism class, we read an essay by social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt. The essay summarized her and her colleagues’ work on the cognitive associations we make about Black people and crime. For me, the findings were like a knife in the gut: we have unconscious prejudices that we often aren’t aware of, that can have dire consequences. In one study, participants were either unconsciously primed to think about crime or received no such prime. Then, two faces, a Black face and a White face, were flashed next to each other, at the same time, on the screen. … Read more

Contact Theory, Controlled Thought, and the Fundamental Attribution Error

In our class focused on aversive racism, we examined an article by Patricia G. Devine. Devine’s article consisted of three related studies which focused on the mental processes of both high-prejudice and low-prejudice individuals. Devine’s first study found that high and low prejudice individuals are aware of the same stereotypes. Devine’s second study looked below the surface of consciousness, and found that when people, whether they are high or low prejudice are not aware that they are being primed with stereotypes, they will behave in a way that is dictated by the stereotypes. The third, and (in my opinion) most important study affirmed that there are two distinct routes that people encounter when engaging in stereotypical thought (clarify: thoughts about stereotypes). The first route is the automatic route, that is, when a stereotype comes to mind, the mind automatically processes it, and people automatically use the stereotypes. The second route is the controlled route, which occurs when people get the opportunity to control their thoughts before using or not using stereotypes. It is through the controlled route that we see the distinction between high and low prejudice individuals. High prejudice individuals, when given opportunity to control their thoughts, still use stereotypes to direct their thinking. Low prejudice individuals, on the other hand, take the opportunity to control their thoughts and actively avoid the use of stereotypes in their thinking.

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Seeing Race and Feeling Shame: The rest of the story

In their online publication, “Seeing Race and Seeming Racist? Whites Go out of Their Way to Avoid Talking About Race,” the American Psychological Association (I mysteriously could not find an exact author) posits that, in attempt to avoid drawing negative feelings toward themselves, white people often avoid talking about race, even when it is clearly relevant to the situation. In their attempts to be culturally sensitive, however, people who avoid talking about race are often, as a result of their avoidance, perceived negatively.

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Modern Clark Study

During Thursday’s class discussion, we compared speeches from Dr. King and President Barack Obama. Though forty one years apart, we agreed that the speeches called for similar action; time had not changed much. I found the same to be true of the results of a landmark social psychology study. In the course of reading James Jones’s article “Psychological Knowledge and the New American Dilemma of Race”, I found myself wanting more details about the Kenneth and Mamie Clark doll study because of its influence in Brown v. Board of Education. So, as is my natural reflex I typed it into a search engine. One of the first items that came up was the video below.

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