The Psychology of Stereotyping

By David J. Schneider | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Prejudice and Discrimination

As I have indicated in Chapter 1, studying stereotypes and stereotyping without considering their relationships to prejudice and discrimination is sterile and incomplete. Furthermore, it will simply not do to assume that stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination form a neatly wrapped package. This chapter explores some of the complexities. It is not a complete review of the research on prejudice and discrimination; that would be a whole other book, and there are several excellent treatments available (e.g., Brown, 1995; Duckitt, 1992; J. M. Jones, 1997; M. Jones, 2002; Nelson, 2002). My aim is to provide an overview of recent thinking on prejudice and discrimination.


PREJUDICE

"Prejudice" is a kind of prejudgment, an affective or emotional response to a group of people or an individual from that group (see Chapter 1). Prejudice is an attitude, and like most attitudes, it is multifaceted, complex, and fairly labile. Traditionally, social psychologists have treated attitudes as more or less like possessions—things that are acquired with some effort and that, like carefully chosen furniture, sit in their assigned places in our mental homes undisturbed, subject to the occasional mental dusting. Some attitudes are like that. Although many of our political and religious attitudes remain fairly constant for a good many years and feel a bit like a cozy armchair, others are more changeable and less comfortable (Jonas, Broemer, & Diehl, 2000; MacDonald & Zanna, 1998). In many (perhaps most) cases, the attitudes we have toward classes of things change with moods, experiences, and the salience of goals, among other things. I have positive attitudes toward dogs when I play with mine, negative attitudes when the neighbor's dog barks at night, and so it goes. It is not that my attitudes change between playing at 8:00 P.M. and trying to sleep at midnight, but only that certain aspects of my attitudes are more salient at one time than another.

Furthermore, prejudice can encompass any number of feelings or emotions. It makes perfect sense to speak of positive prejudice, but prototypically prejudice is on

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