Culture, Prejudice, Racism, and Discrimination - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication
This chapter shows that the concept of hate crime is loaded with ambiguity become hate crimes; and (4) how strong the causal link must be between the. Hate crimes are rising, and so is support for political violence. “The relationship between ethnocentrism and violence is abundantly clear. True Vision, a police-funded hate-crime-reporting website, has seen a 57% increase in reporting between Thursday and Sunday, compared.
German hate crimes might be based more on ethnicity e. Why do people commit such acts at all? One mistake we often make is thinking of prejudice and discrimination only in extreme terms such as genocide and hate crimes. Culture and Intolerance Re Defining Culture As we look to the cultural influence on intolerance, we must first consider the definition of culture.
The study of culture has deep roots in anthropological and linguistic research, especially as seen in the work of Franz Boaz and his students Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Edward Sapir, as well as in the early work of Edward Tyler, itself based on earlier traditions of ethology Darwin and social evolution Marx.
This work influenced the work of anthropologist E. Scholars have debated whether culture is a shared mental framework of beliefs, norms for behavior i. These are influenced and created through symbolic behavior, action, and other aspects of the environment history, geography. The definitional dimensions of culture described by Kroeber and Kluckhohn explained well many of the definitions of culture up until the s. After that time, some scholars especially in communication began to treat culture more as a set of symbols and meanings.
Others framed culture as a process of constructing social meanings and systems through communication. As people sing, speak, play, tell jokes, and conduct business, they are constantly re creating their culture—both relying upon it and changing it. With this diversity of definitions in mind, one is not sure what to think culture is or should be.
Baldwin, Faulkner, Hecht, and Lindsley present a series of essays on the definition of culture by authors from six different disciplines e.
While they are reluctant to settle on a single definition of culture, this definition embraces most trends: It is in the creation and defending of cultures—from countries to local and virtual communities—that intolerance often becomes apparent.
The Role of Culture in Prejudice Of various schools of thought about the nature and origins of intolerance, only one approach suggests that intolerance is biological or in some way inherited, and that is sociobiology, or evolutionary theory. But even evolutionary theorists cannot explain all intolerance based on a theory of inherited impulse.
Research on intolerance in 90 preindustrial societies suggests that, when there are clearly psychological causes for intergroup conflict, groups ultimately use communication to create who the enemy is and how one should demonstrate or show intolerance Ross, In sum, there is a strong cultural component determining which intolerances are felt or expressed in a given place or time. Culture, however one defines it, can affect tolerance.
The way that we construct our identities through communication is inherently linked to how we construct the identities of those in outgroups, as we shall see; but they are also linked to behavior within our group. Social constructionist approaches to culture thus often become critical in their focus on power relations.
Ethnocentrism, Xenophobia The purpose of this article is primarily to look at racism and discrimination as forms of prejudice; however, these cannot be understood without a larger understanding of prejudice in general and other forms or types of prejudice. For Allport, prejudice is a cognitive or psychological phenomenon: Prejudice is ultimately a problem of personality formation and development; no two cases of prejudice are precisely the same.
The idea is frequently applied to a mistrust or dislike rather than merely fear of outgroups or those perceived to be different, especially in national terms. While the Greek translation suggests the psychological component of fear, recent researchers have treated the concept in behavioral or message terms. Historical research on xenophobia links it to anti-Semitism and, more recently, to Islamophobia, though it does not have as clear a historical trajectory as ethnocentrism; many more recent studies look at South Africa as a model nation in attempting to strategically reduce xenophobia.
Researchers use a variety of methods to look at xenophobia, depending on their research assumptions and background disciplines. Van Dijk notes how groups can use language such as hyperbole of differences to marginalize immigrants, often through appeals to so-called democratic values. Ethnocentrism Some types of prejudice relate specifically to the larger and more traditional notion of culture i.
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If one sees ethnocentrism strictly as a feeling of superiority, nationalism or school spirit, or religious loyalty, etc. The Hmong-descended people of the Pacific Northwest in the United States will likely feel that their ways are superior to those of Moroccan- or Guatemalan-descended peoples, as well as to those of the dominant culture.
Auestad presented a series of essays on the rise of political discourses across the world that highlighted elements of national security and identity traditionas well as the building of cultures of fear by focusing on the negative aspects of foreigners or those of different religious groups within single countries. Some elements of the U.
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Within the field of intercultural communication, at least two lines of research have focused on ethnocentrism. The first is by Jim Neuliep, who, with colleagues, has revisited the measurement of ethnocentrism in the classic work by the Frankfurt School, The Authoritarian Personality, with a new measure of ethnocentrism. After applying the measure to white Americans, Neuliep continues to test the relationship of ethnocentrism to other important intercultural variables, such as intercultural anxiety and communication satisfaction.
In this approach, a range of attitudes reflects either ethnocentrism or ethnorelativism. Ethnocentric stances include denial e. This approach has gained ground around the world and in different disciplines, from Finland to Iran, with applications from cultural sensitivity to interreligious tensions. Prejudice One of the difficulties of discussing prejudice is the conceptual overlap between terms e. There is a danger of such appreciation, as borrowing e.
We are not talking about a dominant group borrowing from subordinate or subaltern groups in a colonizing or folklorizing way, but about cultural learning and dialogue. By this definition, prejudice is an aspect of affect, or feeling toward a group, though it is closely related to cognitions, or thoughts about the group, referring to stereotypes. Most dictionary definitions follow the attitudinal approach, though in common usage, people often use the term to refer to things like racism, which carry behavioral and even policy implications that are not strictly attitudes.
By strictest definition, prejudice is an attitude that favors one group over another, based on or related to cognitions, and both leading to and influenced by behaviors including communicationtexts e. These include historical, sociological, situational, psychodynamic, and phenomenological i.
For Althussera Marxist philosopher, prejudice would likely, in the last instance, be an issue of economic and social class considerations. A broader consideration should consider multiple causes Baldwin,including evolutionary causes, psychological causes both psychodynamic and perceptualsociological causes, and rhetorical causes. Communication and behavior become central in each of these causes, highlighting the need for a communicative understanding of prejudice. Evolutionary causes, often referred to under the rubric of sociobiology, focus on the way in which prejudice might be an inherited trait, possibly even genetic see, e.
This approach includes the idea that groups seek to preserve themselves e. Psychological explanations of prejudice fall into at least two major divisions. The first, psychodynamic, suggests that prejudice serves as a mechanism for individuals to meet psychological needs.
Thus researchers have long linked it to things such as ambivalence toward parents, rigid personality structure, and a need for authority Allport, ; Adorno et al. A second aspect of the psychological approach concerns perception or cognition. This contains a range of possible influences on prejudice, including such things as selective attention, perception, and recall of the negative behavior of outgroup members, or the notion of attributional biases that impact how we give meanings to the behavior of those of our ingroup and those of outgroups.
At the center of many of these explanations is the notion of categorization of people i. Categorization, in social identity theory, is not a form of prejudice—it is simply the mental placing of people or things, actions, characteristics, etc.
However, those boxes are closely related to the stereotypes that cling to groups. Stereotypes are overgeneralizations we make about groups that we apply to individuals in those groups Herbst, Although these stereotypes provide a mental shortcut for processing information about others, they interfere with our encoding, storage, and recall of information about members of our own group and other groups Stephan, It is likely that if we are on auto-pilot or in a state of mindlessness, we will resort to stereotypes.
But individuating people i. Group-based, or sociological, approaches, like psychological approaches, are varied. Other group-based factors also impact prejudice, such as perceived group competition for jobs and resources in times of economic upheaval e. It is more likely that mental structures and communicative practices co-create each other, through forms we shall examine in more detail.Pittsburgh synagogue shooting comes amid rise in hate crimes
But, as a complete hologram provides the most faithful image, the most complete view of an intolerance will come through multiple views e. A Case Study in Prejudice Racism as a specific type of prejudice is one of the most hotly discussed and debated sites of intolerance in contemporary times in the United States and beyond.
Even though many there argue that class, not race, is the primary social distinction, as racism has become officially illegal, forms of overt racism, from social media to abuse and killing of unarmed blacks by police continue to receive recent focus in U.
Racism is a form of intolerance that is based on the supposedly biological distinction of race, but many authors today argue that race is a social construct, sometimes defined differently from country to country and even over time within a single country. Ideology motivated both men, and their actions clearly spread fear, which makes what they did terrorism. Critics will object that Roof and Christian were at best emotionally unstable and at worst mentally ill individuals driven by person pathology, nothing more.
This assertion may be true, but it also denies the larger context in which the men operated. Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the Orlando nightclub massacre, also showed signs of personal pathology, but that did not stop us from labeled an ISIS terrorist, even though he apparently had no official ties with the group. Many individuals who carry out terrorist attacks are unstable, but they would not act as they do without an ideological focus.
When the perpetrator is a Muslim, we emphasize his ideological convictions. When he is a White supremacist, we emphasize his personal pathology.
Whether we call them hate crimes or terrorism, we are still condemning the acts and punishing the perpetrators.
To cast out a demon, however, you must be able to name it. It might also encourage a long overdue conversation on the difference between free speech and hate speech, a consideration of where individual liberties end and the safety of the community begin.