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Racism And Prejudice In America Essay

1399 words - 6 pages

Prejudice is a destructive social problem. Theories of prejudice distinguish between old-fashioned and modern forms. The former is an open rejection of minority group members; the latter is subtle and covert, with a veneer of out-group acceptance. Prejudice is commonly defined as an unfair negative attitude toward a social group or a person perceived to be a member of that group. Racism is related to concepts such as prejudice, but it is a more encompassing term. In White Racism, authors Feagin, Vera and Batur explain, “Racism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination” (p. ix); it involves a widely accepted racist philosophy and it involves power to deny other racial groups the dignity or opportunities that are available to one’s own group through a socially organized set of ideas and attitudes.
Transformation of Prejudice
The idea that prejudice in America has diminished seems idyllic. According to Whitley and Kite, prejudice continues through a more subtle form. They show this in a study of bogus pipeline research. This is the theory that participants responses change when they feel they will be caught lying. The participants may have been hooked to electrodes during the second round of questioning and told if their response was untrue, the electrodes would detect it. The participant is more likely to give a more accurate response (Whitely and Kite pg. 192). This is similar to implicit research of Chapter 2 in that assessment of self-reporting would indicate low prejudice but the participants would have psychological responses that indicate prejudice. An example of this would be emotional responses when shown a picture of the out-group.
White Privilege refers to the set of privileges that white people are thought to benefit from. It assumed that the social, political, or economic privileges are not experienced by people of color. The term denotes both obvious and less obvious advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include presumed greater social status and ability to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The authors describe continued prejudice when White people may not perceive the discrimination as that other members of the minority groups experience. According to Peggy McIntosh in her essay titled, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, “I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of the corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.” She continues with, “White privilege is like an invisible knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.” (1)
Whitley and Kite site a study through research of female and Black college students that kept records of sexist and racial behaviors they experienced within a two...

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