Attitudes, Racism and Culture

1547 words 7 pages
Psychology Research Essay: Attitudes, Racism and Culture

Focus: Simple interpersonal contact is not sufficient enough to reduce prejudiced attitudes. Prejudice is most likely to be reduced when several factors are in effect.

Attitudes are long term ideas individuals hold about themselves, objects, other people and issues. They have three components; affect (feelings), behaviour (actions) and cognition (thoughts). Attitudes are not something individuals are born with; they are learned from direct experiences and interaction with others.

Attitudes are developed from the culture in which we live. In the movie “Remember the Titans” the students initially had negative
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Likewise, her behaviour (actions) and cognition (thoughts) are likely to be negative. She will therefore have prejudice, negative thoughts, feelings and judgments towards the particular group. This results in negative behaviours, discrimination.

Social influence is a factor that contributes to the development of prejudice. Individuals want to identify themselves as part of a group (self categorisation). They therefore conform to the group standards to feel part of and accepted by the group. In “Remember the Titans” Gary Butier’s girlfriend held prejudice for his African-American friends. She was unwilling to change her attitudes as they were the “social norms” of her social group. Breaking the “social norm” could have lead to her being excluded from the group.

Conflict or competition between two groups often leads to prejudice. Groups form negative attitudes and use derogatory terms for the opposing group to feel better about themselves. Individuals in the opposing group are therefore prejudged to be like their social group and are not seen as individuals. In the movie, the African-American footballers and the Caucasian footballers competed for a place in the team. Intergroup conflict is caused which contributes to the development of prejudice.
Social identity also contributes to the development of prejudice. Individuals identify others in terms of their group membership (social categorisation). People’s characteristics


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