A Social Psychological Solution to Ethnic Prejudice in Schools
Schools should provide a safe atmosphere of learning and growth for all schoolchildren, given equal opportunities to everyone. Educators should focus on the student’s academic performance, self-esteem, satisfaction with the school, and getting along well with their peers (Walker & Crogan, 1998). Negative self-esteem may affect academic performance. Increased liking of peers leads to the acceptance of those peers, and turns as a prerequisite to a positive development of self-esteem (Aronson and Osherow, 1980). Therefore, promoting empathic roles help reduce anxiety, and convey increased participation in learning (Aronson and Bridgeman, 1979).
Due to laws, fear of retaliation, and social pressure, race and ethnic relations have changed in the 20th century in the United States (Sydell & Nelson, 2000; Baron & Branscombe, 2012). Experiences of discrimination (negative social actions) originated on bigoted views of race and ethnicities are correlated with negative psychological outcomes, such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and emotional reactivity (Carter, 2007; Mossakowski, 2003; Williams, Neighbors, & Jackson, 2003). Consequently, it is important to analyze the concept of prejudice, to understand the scope and implications of ethnic related bias at the school level.
In this study, perceptions of racial and/or ethnic discrimination, trauma related symptoms, and its consequences are examined, among school age children, as important factors linked to violence in schools.
Review of Relevant Research
Prejudice is a construction of negative feelings toward a different social group than our own, based on the association of the “other” to a particular group. Prejudice persists as a way to protect our self-esteem from possible material or symbolic threats from out-groups. Competition for scarce resources can motivate categorizing others in a derogatory manner, intensifying conflict and building discrimination against the disliked group (Baron & Branscombe, 2012).
People of non-European descent are suffering a negative impact of racial and/or ethnic discrimination, which affect their psychological, and academic functioning. Students of color report more negative racial climate in schools, with higher levels of stress, and lower academic performance related to these experiences coupled with feelings of not belonging, compared to Caucasian students, who are more likely to perceive racial climate as positive (Pieterse, Carter, Evans & Walter, 2010). Non-White students experience psychological reactivity in response to, or in anticipation to racial discrimination with anger, hostility, and depression, in a level that can be compared to psychological trauma (not as a mental disorder, but as a psychological damage), including identity confusion, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, avoidance, and feelings of guilt and shame (Carlson, E., 1997; Franklin,...