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  • Robert V. Schmidt
    http://users.pandora.be/gohiyuhi/articles/art00031.htm Stereotypes/Discrimination/Identity By David P. Rider, Ph.D. One of Psychology s most respected authors,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2003

      By David P. Rider, Ph.D.

      One of Psychology's most respected authors, Erik Erikson (1968), noted that
      minorities throughout the world have struggled to maintain an ethnic
      identity, even when forced to co-exist within the context of a dominant
      culture. In nations where ethnic minorities were historical victims of
      persecution, oppression, slavery, or genocide, the dominant culture
      typically invokes prejudicial attitudes toward the minority group as a
      justification for the actions of the oppressor group (Cox, 1948; Trimble,

      Laboratory research readily demonstrates that when one group of
      experimental subjects is directed to inflict pain or harm to members of
      another experimental group of subjects, the "victim" group is routinely
      derogated and dehumanized verbally by the "oppressor" group (Davis & Jones,
      1960; Glass, 1964; Worchel & Andreoli, 1978). By developing such negative
      attitudes toward their own victims, "exploiters can not only avoid thinking
      of themselves as villains, but they can also justify further exploitation"
      (Franzoi, 1996, p. 394).

      Negative images and attitudes toward American Indians have served precisely
      the same function: To protect the historical oppressors from a sense of
      guilt over the atrocities committed against Indians and to justify further
      exploitation. Indians as well as other ethnic minorities in America today
      "become acutely aware of the [negative] evalutions of their ethnic group by
      the majority white culture" (Santrock, 1997, p. 402). In a study of
      identity formation among minorities, Phinney (1989) reported that African
      Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians all suffer from
      negative stereotypes imposed by the dominant American culture, which
      denigrates precisely those aspects of ethnic culture that minorities take
      pride in.

      Research on the adverse outcome of such negative stereotypes on the
      functioning of minorities in America is voluminous (see Spencer &
      Dornbusch, 1990, for an overview). Negative appraisals of non-whites in
      America lead to perceptions among minorities that employment avenues are
      cut off and that success is out of their reach.

      Nowhere are such negative appraisals of minority groups more blatant than
      in the mascots and Indian names of sports teams that proliferate in the
      American education system. While other minority groups in America must
      endure negative stereotypes, Indians are the only minority group that has
      those stereotypes advertised in government-funded public schools. Indian
      mascots help to promote and perpetuate the dehumanizing stereotypes that
      developed among European colonizers centuries ago. As such, they are
      harmful to both Indians and nonIndians. Indians endure the psychological
      damage of seeing cartoon-like caricatures of themselves embodied in the
      mascots, perhaps the ultimate in dehumanizing victims. It is no coincidence
      that Indians have the highest suicide rate, school drop-out rate, and
      unemployment rate of any group in the United States.

      Indian mascots also harm nonIndians, for they perpetuate stereotypes that
      impair students from learning accurate accounts of American history and
      Indian/white relations throughout the post-contact era.


      Cox, O. C. (1948). "Caste, class, and race." New York: Doubleday.

      Davis, K. E., and Jones, E. E. (1960). Changes in interpersonal perception
      as a means of reducing cognitive dissonance. "Journal of Abnormal and
      Social Psychology," 61, 402-410.

      Erikson, E. H. (1968). "Identity, youth, and crisis." New York: W. W.

      Frannzoi, Stephen L. (1996). "Social Psychology." Madison, WI: Brown and

      Glass, D. C. (1964). Changes in liking as a means of reducing cognitive
      discrepancies between self-esteem and aggression. "Journal of Personality,"
      62, 531-549.

      Phinney, J. S. (1989). Stages of ethnic identity development in minority
      group adolescents. "Journal of Early Adolescence," 9, 34-49.

      Santrock, J. W. (1997). "Life-span development." Sixth edition. Madison,
      WI: Brown and Benchmark.

      Spencer, M. B., and Dornbusch, S. M. (1990). Challenges in studying
      minority youth. In S. S. Feldman and G. R. Elliot (Eds.), "At the
      threshold: The developing adolescent." Cambridge, MA: Harvard University

      Trimble, J. E. (1988). Stereotypical images, American Indians, and and
      prejudice. In P. A. Katz and D. A. Taylor (Eds.), "Elimination racism:
      Profiles in controversy" (pp. 181-202). New York: Plenum Press.

      Worchel, S., and Andreoli, V. M. (1978). Facilitation of social interaction
      through deindividuation of the target. "Journal of Personality and Social
      Psychology," 36, 549-556.
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