The Psychology of Prejudice

By Mark P. Zanna; James M. Olson | Go to book overview

eries of implicit stereotyping encourage consideration of the notion of perpetratorless crimes (as a parallel to the existing notion of victimless crimes). The notion of removing responsibility and blame from individual perpetrators differs vastly from conventional assumptions of most justice systems. Discussion of the implications of this construct for justice systems must be considered at length, without sacrificing attention to the consequences of perpetratorless crimes for the target of prejudice.

From the perspective of the victim of implicit stereotyping, the potential pervasiveness of such actions demand discussion of the status of victim remuneration. In particular, implicit stereotyping is, by its very nature, likely to be unnoticed by the target, and hence traditional methods of guaranteeing due process and so forth become irrelevant. However, if future research documents the extent of damage produced by implicit stereotyping and prejudice, alternative methods of recognizing the extent of discrimination and providing remuneration will need to be developed. For example, an important issue for consideration is the target's attribution of internal versus external location of the causes of negative outcomes. Specifically, if the (external) cause of a discriminatory act is hidden from the victims' view, an internal attribution of its cause may be produced. Judgments of internal causes of behavior that actually reside in the environment (i.e., in the perpetrator's implicit discrimination) can produce psychological damage in members of groups routinely targeted for implicit stereotyping and prejudice. The combination of an absence of a conscious perpetrator of stereotyping and prejudice and the presence of such acts themselves and their consequences suggests that new dialogue is needed about methods for recognizing implicit stereotyping and treating its symptoms.


CONCLUSIONS

Historically, implicit stereotyping and prejudice have been disregarded in considerations of social behavior. With increasing attention to unconscious processes in thought and judgment, their operation can now be effectively investigated. Research on implicit stereotyping and prejudice can: (a) question the currently dominant conception that such evaluations operate primarily within consciousness, (b) provide increased understanding of the subtle yet powerful mechanisms by which stereotyped judgments are produced, and (c) instigate discussion of potential new solutions to a major social problem.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by the National Science Foundation Grant DBC 9120987. We thank Richard Ashmore, R. Bhaskar, Anne Beall,

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