Race and Ethnic Conflict: Contending Views on Prejudice, Discrimination, and Ethnoviolence

By Fred L. Pincus; Howard J. Ehrlich | Go to book overview

same disparities lead him to question the conceptualization of policy. Roth argues that this conceptualization is based on the elitist and political bias of social scientists and that these disparities are "real." Jones argues that the expressions of prejudice have changed over time. From the research literature, he identifies three forms of expression--symbolic racism, modern racism, and aversive racism.

Symbolic racism is based on prejudice where the content of the attitude is the conjunction of (1) inappropriate beliefs and demands by blacks regarding civil rights and (2) the belief that discrimination has already been neutralized. Continuing black demands for government assistance are, therefore, seen as violating traditional norms of achievement and merit. Government policies such as court- ordered school busing and affirmative action are viewed as unnecessary and violating white civil rights. Modern racists, according to Jones, hold similar views regarding discrimination and the violation of norms. Both symbolic racists and modern racists believe that they are not prejudiced and that their beliefs are realistically grounded. The differences between the two conceptualizations are slight and are matters of emphasis. The modern racist tends to respond to the target of prejudice directly, in a more stereotyped manner and with a strong emotional loading. Symbolic racists tend to respond indirectly to the target of prejudice by focusing on social policies that affect group relations (busing, school desegregation, affirmative action). Aversive racists, in contrast, express their attitudes toward blacks in emotional responses--discomfort, disgust, fear, and so on. Like the others, aversive racists do not view themselves as being prejudiced.

The divergences of Roth and Jones illustrate three facets of the complexity of the study of prejudice. The first is how the changing relations between groups is reflected in the changes in the content of attitudes. The second is how these changing attitudes can be differently interpreted by scientists of differing political perspectives. Finally, both authors introduce the reader to the differences in the perceptions of blacks and whites. These differences are reflected in many of the selections in Part Three.


REFERENCES

Ehrlich, Howard J. ( 1973) The Social Psychology of Prejudice. New York: Wiley.

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