Ethnic Group Stereotypes in New Zealand
Sibley, Chris G., Stewart, Kate, Houkamau, Carla, Manuela, Sam, Perry, Ryan, Wootton, Liz W., Harding, Jessica F., Zhang, Yang, Sengupta, Nikhil, Robertson, Andrew, Hoverd, William James, West-Newman, Tim, Asbrock, Frank, New Zealand Journal of Psychology
New Zealand (NZ) is a fairly small nation by international standards, with a total population currently approaching 4. 3 million. The NZ population is diverse and, like many nations, is called home by people from a number of different ethnic backgrounds. According to 2006 census figures, roughly 67-68% of the population are of European descent (referred to here using the Maori term, Pakeha). Maori, the indigenous peoples of NZ, form between 14-15% of the population. NZ is also home to many Pacific Nations peoples, who form around 7% of the population; and a number of Asian peoples (primarily Chinese), who form approximately 9% of the population and are the fastest growing ethnic group. (i) Intergroup relations in NZ appear relatively harmonious; at least insofar as a lack of organized large-scale ethnic or national conflict is concerned. NZ was ranked as number one in the world on the 2010 Global Peace Index, indicating it was the most peaceful country in the world in which to live in that year (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2010). Despite this impressive ranking, there remain considerable differences in the equality of outcomes experienced by different ethnic groups residing in NZ. For instance, according to data reported in The Social Report (2008), Pakeha had a median hourly income of $18.94, Asian peoples (including the category "other") had a median hourly income of $15.82, and Maori and Pacific Nations peoples had lower median hourly incomes of $15.34 and $15.00, respectively.
There are also numerous other differences in the ways in which Pakeha, Maori, Pacific Nations, and Asian peoples are socially constructed and (re-)presented in everyday discourse, national news media, and NZ culture in general. These vary from well-publicised political speeches and commentaries variously expressing concern about immigration policies, primarily those relating to Asian peoples (Liu & Mills, 2006) and also somewhat to Pacific Nations immigrants, to political/satirical cartoons such as the recent primetime comedy series bro'Town (produced by a Pacific Nations group), which depicts the experiences of young Pacific Nations youths living in NZ, and plays on societal ethnic stereotypes (see Teaiwa & Mallon, 2005). With regard to Maori, research shows a strong level of support for symbolic aspects of Maori culture and symbols interwoven throughout NZ society, paired with an equally strong resistance toward material reparation for historical and continuing injustices experienced by Maori at the hands of European colonials (Liu, 2005; Sibley, 2010; Sibley & Liu, 2004, 2007). New Zealanders, then, are well exposed to the different ways in which Pakeha, Maori, Pacific Nations, and Asian New Zealanders are constructed as essentialised categories. The vast majority of New Zealanders are also well aware, we maintain, of the core characteristics (or stereotyped content) used to repeatedly describe and depict these visible ethnic groups within NZ society.
What might the content of ethnic group stereotypes of Pakeha, Maori, Pacific Nations, and Asian New Zealanders look like? How might such stereotypes be produced by socio-structural relations between different ethnic groups residing in NZ? And more importantly, if systematic differences in ethnic group stereotypes are observed, then what implications might this have for understanding how existing inequalities and prejudice are perpetuated and legitimised in NZ? We present data from a national postal sample examining the core content of ethnic group stereotypes in NZ. We apply recent theoretical models of stereotype content developed overseas in an attempt to understand how systemic differences in the content of stereotypes of different ethnic groups residing in NZ might arise, and how specific stereotypes of different ethnic groups might contribute to our understanding of ethnic prejudice and discrimination in NZ's unique socio-political context. It should be noted at this point that we view Pakeha, Maori, Pacific Nations, and Asian New Zealanders as socially constructed identities rather than essentialised, biologically determined, immutable categories. We do, however, recognize that these ethnic group labels reflect readily visible social categories that are widely used as terms of reference within society (see Sibley, Houkamau & Hoverd, in press, for additional discussion of this issue). It is with this in mind that we refer to perceptions of these different visible and widely used social category labels.
The Stereotype Content Model
In their founding work on stereotype content, Fiske, Xu, Cuddy, and Glick (1 999) argued that stereotypes of almost all social groups (be they Jews, housewives, rock stars, or tradespersons) express generalised evaluative beliefs that vary according to the degree of warmth and competence ascribed to members of the target group. Why warmth and competence? Judgements on these two dimensions have been shown to be the most important evaluations of self and other in perceptions of both groups and individuals (Abele & Wojciszke, 2007; Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007). The warmth dimension represents the first domain of evaluation that people naturally (and automatically) infer when evaluating unfamiliar others: that is, are members of this group friend or foe? Are their intentions toward my group positive or negative? The second central question concerns perceived competence: is this group capable of acting upon its (inferred negative or positive) intentions toward my group? Taken together then, perceived warmth and competence allow for generalised evaluations of almost all social groups (Fiske et al., 2007).
One of the best-supported hypotheses of the Stereotype Content Model is that most groups receive mixed stereotypes, that is, high on one dimension but low on the other (Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2008). This is a major argument against the classical conceptualisation of intergroup evaluations as purely positive or negative: Groups that are seen as cold and incompetent tend to be the exception rather than the rule. For example, as Glick (2006) has argued, Jewish people in 1940s German society were viewed as highly competent and economically astute, but also as extremely cold, callous, and manipulative. Asian peoples are seen in similar (although less extreme) ways in many contemporary societies; that is, as highly competent, studious high-achievers, who are low in sociability (Lin, Kwan, Cheung, & Fiske, 2005). These same mixed patterns can also be observed in the stereotypes of indigenous peoples that occurred in the colonial era. Ideologies such as the 'White man's burden' reflected the belief that European colonials were enlightening and redeeming the childlike (high warmth) but primitive (low competence) indigenous peoples (Jackman, 1994; Sibley, 2010). The ambivalent character of stereotypes does not, however, prevent prejudice and discrimination (Jackman, 1994). Moreover, specific forms of discrimination can occur because of mixed stereotypes (Cuddy et al., 2007) (we return to the implications of mixed stereotype content in the discussion section).
Typically, research on the Stereotype Content Model has focused on examining patterns of warmth-competence evaluations across broad ranges of social categories as perceived by society (Cuddy et al., 2008). This is a well-validated method for assessing perceptions of the descriptive content of cultural stereotypes, that is, stereotypes as consensually shared within a culture or society (Cialdini & Trost, 1998). These perceptions of the stereotypes held by a society are referred to as meta-stereotypes. Understanding the content of meta-stereotypes is important for understanding discrimination because stereotype content should influence the accepted norms for intergroup relations within a society (cf. Jost & Hamilton, 2005; Stangor & Schaller, 1996), and can guide or justify discriminatory behaviour. Asbrock, Nieuwoudt, Duckitt and Sibley (in press) have shown, for example, that meta-stereotype classifications predicted the extent to which discriminatory and helpful behaviours were viewed as wrong or permissible when directed toward different social groups in both Germany and NZ.
The Origins of Warmth and Competence Stereotypes
Where does the content of stereotypes come from? The Stereotype Content Model holds that evaluations of warmth and competence arise from socio-structural conditions governing intergroup relations within society (Cuddy et al., 2008). Stereotypic judgments about the competence of group members should depend upon the groups' status within society relative to other groups. Groups whose members tend to have higher status and power will tend to be stereotyped as highly competent, whereas groups with less status and power will tend to be viewed as less competent. Cross-culturally, groups with high levels of status tend to be seen as having justly earned such outcomes through the competence and hard work of group members (Cuddy et al., 2009).
Stereotypic judgments about the warmth or sociability of group members depend, in contrast, upon the degree to which members of that group compete with other groups within society, and particularly, to the extent that they compete with the dominant group (in the NZ context, Pakeha). Thus, groups whose members are (subjectively perceived) to be in direct competition with the dominant group for status, resources, power, or other aspects of social value will tend to be viewed as cold and generally possessing an unfriendly or unsociable nature; whereas groups that do not compete with the dominant group (or whose actions do not reduce the resources or opportunities available to dominant group members) will tend to be viewed as warm and friendly within society because their actions will tend to be more congruent with dominant group interests.
Operationalizing Societal Indicators …
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Publication information: Article title: Ethnic Group Stereotypes in New Zealand. Contributors: Sibley, Chris G. - Author, Stewart, Kate - Author, Houkamau, Carla - Author, Manuela, Sam - Author, Perry, Ryan - Author, Wootton, Liz W. - Author, Harding, Jessica F. - Author, Zhang, Yang - Author, Sengupta, Nikhil - Author, Robertson, Andrew - Author, Hoverd, William James - Author, West-Newman, Tim - Author, Asbrock, Frank - Author. Journal title: New Zealand Journal of Psychology. Volume: 40. Issue: 2 Publication date: April 2011. Page number: 25+. © 1998 New Zealand Psychological Society. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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