Thus, differential perceptions of discrimination at the personal and group level represent a psychologically important phenomenon that may help us understand how such a devastating experience is interpreted and felt by people. It may also help in our understanding of people's behavioral reactions to discrimination. The conditions under which disadvantaged group members take individual as opposed to collective action emerge as a central issue in the social psychology of intergroup relations (e.g., Wright, Taylor, & Moghaddam, 1990). There may well be a parallel between perceptions of personal and group discrimination and taking individual or collective action.
In terms of understanding the personal/group discrimination discrepancy, there is some evidence to suggest that denial or minimization of personal discrimination is not the only viable explanation, as has been suggested to date. There is also some indication that perceptions of discrimination have their roots in real experience, and how that experience becomes internalized needs to be addressed fully.
Finally, there is initial evidence to suggest a link between perceptions of discrimination and the nature of personal and social identity. This link needs to be explored not only for what it can tell us about perceptions of discrimination but also for the insights it provides into the very nature of self-identity.
The research described in this chapter was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The authors are indebted to Jim Olson, Mark Zanna, and Steven Neuberg for their insightful comments on an earlier version of the chapter.
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Publication information: Book title: The Psychology of Prejudice. Contributors: Mark P. Zanna - Editor, James M. Olson - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 254.