Change of Stereotypes
As in Chapter 1, I begin this chapter with an imaginary dialogue. Once again, OP is the Obnoxious Psychologist; in this dialogue, CS is a Concerned Student.
OP: I wonder if you could speculate about how we might change stereotypes. If you had unlimited resources and all the time in the world, how would you try to change the stereotypes that whites have about blacks?
CS: I'm pretty sure by this point that whatever I say will be wrong, but I'll give it a try. (Pause) I guess the most obvious thing to do would be to make sure that whites have more information about blacks.
OP: So it seems that your underlying assumption is that stereotypes result from ignorance. That whites think blacks are violent and unintelligent because they haven't had enough contact with them.
CS: Well, there certainly are some stupid and violent black people around, but I don't think they're representative. I think a lot of people get their stereotypes from watching TV and movies, and certainly you see lots of black people there who fit the stereotypes. But I think white people don't get a chance to know other types of black people. I have a friend, Andrew, who lives down the hall from me, and he's one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. And he's a computer genius; he sure isn't stupid.
OP: So if everyone could just meet Andrew, their stereotypes about blacks would become more positive?
CS: Well, it sure couldn't hurt.