Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination

By Stuart Oskamp | Go to book overview

automatic) and conscious expressions of egalitarian values and principles. Whereas the traditional form of prejudice may be combated by using direct and conventional attitude change and educational techniques, addressing contemporary forms requires alternative strategies. Individual-level strategies engage the genuine motivations of people to be nonprejudiced. Revealing inconsistencies between individuals' nonprejudiced self-images and their underlying feelings (which are not necessarily conscious), or their intergroup behaviors, can produce negative emotional reactions (e.g., guilt), which then motivate people to alter their beliefs, feelings, and actions to be more truly egalitarian.

Because intergroup biases are also based on realistic group conflict, as well as on the psychological effects of categorizing people into ingroups and outgroups, strategies for reducing bias can additionally focus on intergroup processes. The benefits of appropriately structured intergroup contact can occur through many routes, one of which is producing more individualized perceptions of outgroup members and more personalized relationships. Intergroup contact can also produce more inclusive, superordinate representations of the groups. Transforming members' representations of the groups to recognize a common ingroup identity can harness the psychological forces that contribute to intergroup bias and redirect them, thus improving attitudes toward people who would otherwise be recognized only as outgroup members. However, intervention strategies should consider the different identities, values, and experiences that groups bring to contact situations. Majority and minority groups frequently have different objectives and perspectives, and effective strategies for change must accommodate the needs of both groups. Thus, understanding the processes that contribute to the nature of prejudice can guide, both theoretically and pragmatically, interventions that can effectively reduce both traditional and contemporary forms of prejudice.


NOTE
1
Research presented in this chapter and preparation of the manuscript were supported by NIMH Grant MH 48721.

REFERENCES

Altemeyer B. ( 1994). Reducing prejudice in right-wing authoritarians. In M. Zanna & J. Olson (Eds.), The psychology of prejudice: The Ontario symposium (Vol. 7, pp. 131-148). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Aronson E., & Patnoe S. ( 1997). The jigsaw classroom. New York: Longman.

Bachman B. A. ( 1993). An intergroup model of organizational mergers. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Delaware, Newark.

Banker B. S., & Gaertner S. L. ( 1998). Achieving stepfamily harmony: An intergroup relations approach. Journal of Family Psychology, 12, 310-325.

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