Stereotypes and Prejudice

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The authors examine overt and subtle forms of stereotyping and prejudice. Two theories that explain overt prejudice are reviewed: realistic conflict theory and social identity theory. Although overt prejudice seems to have declined, subtle stereotyping is still pervasive. The authors review one theory, aversive racism theory, that explains this phenomenon. They also discuss two perspectives, attributional ambiguity and stereotype threat, which provide accounts of the impact of subtle racism. Both overt and subtle prejudice present challenges for the classroom. The authors describe one intervention called the jigsaw classroom that encourages work toward common goals and helps reduce the expression and impact of overt discrimination. A second intervention program, wise schooling, is presented, which aims to reduce the impact of subtle stereotypes by reducing stereotype threat. Why do prejudice and discrimination exist? Has overt racism been replaced by more subtle forms of prejudice? How does stereotyping affect its targets? In this article we describe two theories, realistic conflict theory and social identity theory, which provide an answer to the first question. We address the second question by noting that although overt discrimination has decreased, subtle forms of prejudice are still quite common and we describe one theory, aversive racism, that provides a compelling account of this change in the expression of prejudice. Finally, we answer the third question by describing two phenomena, attributional ambiguity and stereotype threat, that result from the pervasive nature of subtle stereotyping. This article is a selective overview of what social psychology has to say about these crucial issues. In addition, we review two effective intervention programs that offer promise in ameliorating the effects of stereotyping and prejudice in the classroom.

In its earliest conceptions, prejudice was treated as a manifestation of pathology (Ashmore & Del B oca,1981 ). For...
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