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Thread: The psychology of racism

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    The psychology of racism



    Have you ever wondered why some people are racist or prejudiced towards a certain group of people? There was an interesting discussion in my Political Science about the psychology of racism. What are your opinions on groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nzis (skinheads) and if you know of any other groups that would be great. Why do you believe these groups exist and why do you think people become apart of these groups? Is there some inferiority issues involved? I'm kind of doing a little bit of research on this. But I found some links on the issues of racism and prejudices.

    I like this wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism
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    Good post, Ma Cherie. I'm also interested in the psychological aspects of racism as well.

    I think one of the best place to start research on psychology-related materials, besides academic journals and periodicals, would be The American Psychology Association. A quick search on their site found an annotated bibliography that may be helpful, although I've only glanced at a couple of the annotations.

    If I have time myself (unlikely), I'll see if I can dive into some research as well, because, like I said, I'm interested, too.

    edit: hm... upon slightly further review, it looks like there aren't as many hard articles as there are information on conventions and programs and very general stuff. Maybe just check out the annotated bibliography, then? Also, are you a college student? Because being on campus may allow students access to good journal repositories, like jstor.org. Apologies for the false info, and good luck.

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    Today a muslim parent referred to one of my Jewish colleagues as "despicable creature" in a letter to the superintendant. I know I have heard this epithet in anti-semitic contexts before, but I don't remember where.

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    Yes, as a matter of fact I am a college student, I've ran into some interesting articles, but I did find this article about blacks living in France. It's really interesting because even though I do know that racism happens in alot of countries, I never took the time to look at racism beyond the US.
    Here's an interesting link, apparently Hurricane Katrina has some influence here.
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/21/news/france.php

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    Very interesting articles; thanks for posting, Ma Cherie!
    I find the "psychology of racism" impossible to understand. Normally if I disagree with someone's view, I try and look from their perspective, and usually I can manage to see why they are thinking like that, even if I consider them to be wrong or misguided or immature or ignorant or just plain crazy! But racism, I just cannot get my mind to grips with it.

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    Definition : ethnic, religious & cultural racisms

    Strictly speaking, racism is the believe that some race(s) (=ethnic group) is superior to one or several others, or that only one particular race is inferior to all others.

    But, the word has taken a much broader meaning nowadays, and we can now speak of "cultural racism", "religious racism", or even "individual racism" (belief that every individual, regardless of their ethnic group, are uniquely different, and that some are superior to others in almost every aspect).

    Sabro's example about a Muslim insulting a Jew is "religious racism". Recent discrimination or violence against Muslims due to fears of terrorism, is also religious racism.

    If a Japanese were to think that the Japanese are superior to the Chinese (or vice versa), it would be "cultural racism" (they as too genetically similar for it to be ethnic racism).

    Ma Cherie, do you want to discuss all of them, or just ethnic racism ?

    Violent, active and passive racism

    For all these kinds of racism, we could rank the intensity of racism on a scale like this :
    - violent racism (e.g. physical assault, murders => like the KKK or Nazi)
    - non-violent active racism (use non-violent discrimination, such as refusing admission to a business or turning down a job)
    - non-violent passive racism (only in thought, without action)

    Rational vs emotional racism/tolerance

    We could also divide both racism and tolerance among "rational" and "emotional" types. Rational types will try to demonstrate that a group's superiority, or at the contrary, demonstrate that no such superiority truly exist. The emotional types will just "feel" hate or disdain against one group (if they are racist), or tell people that 'we are all human and equal' and shouldn't hate each others.

    Mixed racism and tolerance

    Naturally, to complicate things, it is possible to belong to more than one of these categories. For example, it is possible to be racist about religion, while being tolerant about ethnicity and culture. It is possible to be a rational racist about culture, and an emotional racist about ethnicity and rationally tolerant about religion. It's more usual for someone to be either "rational" on all he line, or "emotional" on all the line though.

    In extreme situations, it is very possible for a champion of ethnic and cultural tolerance to be very racist in matters of religion (I know many examples among some Christian preachers). It is possible for a champion of ethnic and religious tolerance to believe in the superiority of a particular culture or group of cultures. And it is possible for the most tolerant person about religion and cultures to be very racist about ethnicity.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 20-10-05 at 12:40.
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    I'm very open to discussing relgious racism and cultural racism. I have an example of how some religous groups try to justify their racist beliefs through religion. Here's a perfect example of religous racism:

    The Christian Separatist Church Society says:
    "We freely admit that we are Christian Supremacists, believing that the true Christian faith is superior to all other religions and that there is no way unto God except through the bending of the knee to Jesus Christ and the claiming of His redeeming blood.
    ----
    We reject the Marxist, Leninist, Humanistic doctrine of religious tolerance that relegates Christianity to the level of voodooism or a demonic practice of the boxer Chinese. Those who make such an affirmation of Christian Supremacy are often called bigots, an antichrist Jewish buzzword allegedly laid upon the king of England, when he refused to capitulate to the Jews and said, "By God, I will not," affirming that by the strength of the Eternal, he would remain unshakably adamant in his position.
    ----
    While we are a law-abiding people, we reject the Marxist-Leninist Jewish ideology that race- mixing is somehow a civil right.
    ----
    Since He is an immutable God that changes not, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then we stand sure-footed upon the Rock of Ages in declaring that race-mixing is immoral and is the act of racial murder, not only of those participating in it, but also of the tens of millions that may well have been born in the intended created image of God in the future.

    Not only is this religious racism, this is an example of how some people justify their ignorant beliefs through religion.

    I'm reading about cutlural racism at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    Yes, as a matter of fact I am a college student, I've ran into some interesting articles, but I did find this article about blacks living in France. It's really interesting because even though I do know that racism happens in alot of countries, I never took the time to look at racism beyond the US.
    Here's an interesting link, apparently Hurricane Katrina has some influence here.
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/21/news/france.php
    I'm a black guy living in France and I must say I didn't recognize my country in this article. There are lots of racist in France but it is not that bad. You must know that in France there are west indies blacks, and immigrants from africa who just arrived (you can't really differentiate one from another). Most of west indies blacks are well established and healthy why most of immigrants (black people or not) are poor. The problem is that France is an elitist country, if you don't have a degree (which most west indies blacks have) you're worth nothing, and I must admit it'is a goal that is difficult for an non french speaking immigrant to achieve.
    And about the 48 people (4 families) who died in the two building in fire in Paris. Those buildings were refuges for immigrants... alas in France immigrants are mostly black people...


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    I don't know much about racial issues in France Lecan, I'll admit. But yes as a matter of fact I did read somewhere that quite a number of immigrants are mostly blacks.

    Well as you may have heard, Rosa Parks died at the age of 92. She was a well known civil rights leader and she was arrested in 1955 for basically not doing anything. Well she didn't give up her seat to a white man.

    I did however read some stories about race in Africa, well if issues about tribes are considered racism.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    The current extreme racist groups, like those listed by the OP, seem to be fuelled principally by a sense of fear and insecurity. A sort of terrified rage, hammered out into a pseudo-ideology.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    The term "racism" has become so bastardized and consistently misused in the modern-day Western World that I can no longer even take the term seriously much less engage in a conversation where it is the focal point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by St Delcambre View Post
    The term "racism" has become so bastardized and consistently misused in the modern-day Western World that I can no longer even take the term seriously much less engage in a conversation where it is the focal point.
    I agree with this. I friend of mine was rejected at a job interview because in her view they were racist because she was "brown" skined and she thought they didn't want her to work for them. I know her pretty well and lets just say I don't think that was the reason at all.

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    My father was a very rascist person, but in my heart I think that he said most of what he said to keep convincing himself how much he supposedly hated some groups. Then I would see him sitting on the porch of a house owned by a person from that group, talking to the owner for hours more peacefully than he would to his own family.

    I never saw the point of just writing off an entire group and have always wanted to stay with idea of sorting out people by good and bad.

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    I think racism is a lot of bullshit. All human beings nowadays are family. There is only once race. Human. DNA proves that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    Have you ever wondered why some people are racist or prejudiced towards a certain group of people? There was an interesting discussion in my Political Science about the psychology of racism. What are your opinions on groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nzis (skinheads) and if you know of any other groups that would be great. Why do you believe these groups exist and why do you think people become apart of these groups? Is there some inferiority issues involved? I'm kind of doing a little bit of research on this. But I found some links on the issues of racism and prejudices.

    I like this wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism
    It is as a response to something else. For example the KKK was orginally formed by General Nathan Bedford Forrest as a way of resisting the northern radical republicans after the war of northern aggression on the south...

    Modern day racism on the other hand in the US at least is rarely white power groups eg KKK, skinheads etc.... rather more black on white racism happens than white on black racism yet this is something that our "god blessed" media seems to ignore

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Here is my piece I wrote some time ago and posted in different tread:



    Racism exists in all races and cultures on Earth with fairly equal intensity.

    Racism is not an European invention, it always existed everywhere in every group. Portuguese didn’t run around in Africa rounding up the slaves. The slave market existed in West African countries before they arrived, slaves were local commodities, local culture with long slave tradition. It’s common for one tribe to enslave people from other tribe, all around the world. If you like it or not, black people captured black people and sold them to Portuguese.

    I’d say, racism has its roots in basic emotion like aggression against common enemy. It is exactly same emotion of hatred and aggression towards people of different religion or class. This even exists in all territorial mammal spices. One group of wolves chases away other group from their territory. Some can be surprised, but there are well documented records on video, of one group chimpanzees attacking other group, and killing some in process, just because the others were trespassing through their land.
    The differences for group aggression can be quite subtle; like soccer fans from other part of same city, or migrant workers from other town stealing our jobs, etc. Of course, if differences between groups are more visible and obvious the easier to segregate the groups and unleash aggression.
    Aggression and hatred towards different group has deep evolutionary roots. We are basically born to be racists, laugh at and ridicule others, romanticize and exaggerate our importance. All of it because these traits of behavior were very beneficial for survivor of our ancestors. It made the group more united therefore stronger against common enemy. Unfortunately the legacy of it hunts us now when we’re trying to build one big and happy global village.

    Things like education of our kids in spirit of equality, tolerance, inclusivity will help us a lot. We should have same human rights, privileges, responsibility and opportunities. We should be equal under any political, social and religious laws. This will help us a lot, but the racism will never go away.

    Did you notice that the fear place big role in it too? How come we are so scared of many different things, basically the things that we are not used to, and ready to ridicule? Things like: disfigured people, people of different races (if not growing up in multicultural country), people dressed up differently (old fashion), stranger knocking at your door, different sexual behavior, etc…
    For me fear related to differences has strong evolutionary heritage, and obviously had positive role in our ancestor’s evolution.
    Also this trait will hamper our global community, but this could be fixed to some extend through exposing our young to all world’s varieties.

    Other thing that stands in the way of global village is that even if we are totally equal in rights, we never will be the same. We are not born as clean slate; we are born with programmed physical and mental abilities, characters, temperaments, and predispositions etc. that are stronger and more prevalent (statistically speaking) in one race than another. Different races are product of tens of thousand years of evolution in different geographical regions, and to some extend (most likely) intermingling with local hominid spices. Personally, I don’t like it at all, because it screws up my romantic view of harmonious global village, but my logic leads me to this explanation, that I can’t resist.
    But maybe we’ll be fine, and in 1000 or10 000 years, we’ll be nicely mixed into one race and culture, and racial, religious and class hatred will be a thing of a past.

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    Hmm.. Your story is the usual way to see human beings as "bad". And that is the pretext to take control over society, for the benefit of those who have the power.
    With God on their side. Soooooo outdated.

    In the history before the Romans in Europe, there lived lots of people in different tribes of clans, who had a relative quiet life together. The Celts knew some rivalry between each other, but the real bloody nations were more in the Middle East, where Agriculture and the Cities made life more complex, but the same time gave more food and also a growing shortage of materials, that needed the upper class to go searching for it.

    Well, we have had this discussion already somewhere else.

    Conclusion, racism is a propaganda trick to cover stealing people and materials from other regions.

    Racism, and I say it again, is an empty word, because there is only one race. Humanoid.

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    First of all I would like to say that I'm honored to be in the company of what I would consider to be intelligent people.

    IMO:

    Racism is little different than any other prejudice. Instead of it being a strict intellectual or lifestyle prejudice, its tendency is to be based upon a physical prejudice.

    As I see it prejudice tends to go as follows (aka requiring the lowest intelligence to the highest; at least the highest that I can currently fathom):

    1) Physical attributes (aka "you're fat" "you're white/black/yellow/red" ect)

    2) Lifestyle attributes (aka "you're gay" "you're a nerd" "you're poor" ect)

    3) Intellectual attributes (aka typical in the early internet age: "you're stupid", "you're wrong because I currently believe differently" etc)

    Sometimes these prejudices can be mixed with each other too. Never-the-less, all prejudices tend to be the product of ignorance; even this one.



    Several years ago I wrote the following about racism/prejudice. It was partially in all seriousness and partially in jest, because I know that I personally have not risen above all prejudice:

    "There is an innate perfection in everything. Just as the racist person shows their ignorance in thinking colored skin is "bad", when we ourselves think of anything else as "bad", we also show our ignorance towards that thing. In other words, the things that we cannot accept we do not yet know enough about.

    In other words, criticism is an admission of your own ignorance...stupid."

    I'm sure you can find the irony in this statement.


    IMO the only freedom from prejudice; whether it be racism or intellectual prejudice is unconditional love (aka true, unhindered forgiveness).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    Have you ever wondered why some people are racist or prejudiced towards a certain group of people? There was an interesting discussion in my Political Science about the psychology of racism. What are your opinions on groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nzis (skinheads) and if you know of any other groups that would be great. Why do you believe these groups exist and why do you think people become apart of these groups? Is there some inferiority issues involved? I'm kind of doing a little bit of research on this. But I found some links on the issues of racism and prejudices.

    I like this wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism
    i think we may handle racism in two different title: individual racism and corporate (or social) racism.
    individually, everybody may be racist, nobody can force you to like e.g. yellow race. and if you dont hurt anybody, then you can die with that secret. even a well-educated person can be racist since it is a nature of human. human is a very anxious animal and doesnt like contrast.

    However, if it is a social one, then it is impossible to be harmless since it will be too synergic and political. i believe that the ignorance is the main source of this kind of racism since the ignorant people have less self control and open to manipulate. The manipulator will provide or use:
    -misinformation
    -unemployment which causes hate for anything
    -desire for respect
    -nationalism which is already given by the goverments.
    -the crowd (which lowers the fear)
    -the state of belonging to a group (a human characteristic)

    and then he will be political/economical power.

    with the help of increasing unemployment, internet, political transformation, i believe the racism may rise in EU in these days.

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    It is a complicated issue. I think that racism is innate in human beings when it comes to live with another racial group may be an individual feeling natural and not dangerous to many times the policy is used for economic purposes rather than racist.

    They say they know is to love, I think it's an individual struggle to eradicate or control the racism that every human being carries within, irrespective of race, as I have concluded that each race or ethnic group is somehow better believe the rest and no one pound in a given time to be racist or suffer racism.

    Christianity is a good antidote to racism, although many have dared to raise the cross, while blacks were killed as in the case of Kukus klan, but again had economic interests behind that excuse in the race.

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    The key is to be inclusive to all peoples, and teach our children that we all belong to one group. Will it work,...theoretically yes. :)

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    Racism, the attitude that some are somehow better than others and, have the right to torment those who are not
    like them. This is taught and perpetuated by the culture around both groups. It is harmful to be racist, and even more harmful
    to be on the receiving end of racism. This intolerant state of affairs can, and should, be changed.

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    Racism could be owing to cultural factors inculcated from childhood, certain religious principles that do not tolerate certain groups, other times its perpetuated by ignorance, fear, a desire to control and inferiority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ritageorge View Post
    Racism could be owing to cultural factors inculcated from childhood, certain religious principles that do not tolerate certain groups, other times its perpetuated by ignorance, fear, a desire to control and inferiority.
    Racism is biological! In an experiment at CNN there was exactly the same graphic girl painted in 7 different colors. Among the colors there was black as well. The picture was offered to 2 or 3 years old white kids. They don't know what racism is. They were asked: "Which is the ugly girl?". They all pointed to the black colored one. The same one was offered to black kids. They did not necessarily pointed to the black one but seemed that they were confused. They did not name the white one as ugly.
    This shows that racism is not a social construction. We are born with certain instincts. Let say to go from point A to point B we all go in a straight line, not in a curbed one. We are also born with certain attributes of what is beautiful. Certain races do not fit in our biological construction of beautiful. Of course this ideas are transmitted from parent to child as an important knowledge the same way we teach farming or science.
    I believe in the future before the people get married will require each other a DNA test to avoid miscegenation.

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    Citizen of the world
    Country: Canada-Alberta



    Quote Originally Posted by albanopolis View Post
    Racism is biological! In an experiment at CNN there was exactly the same graphic girl painted in 7 different colors. Among the colors there was black as well. The picture was offered to 2 or 3 years old white kids. They don't know what racism is. They were asked: "Which is the ugly girl?". They all pointed to the black colored one. The same one was offered to black kids. They did not necessarily pointed to the black one but seemed that they were confused. They did not name the white one as ugly.
    This shows that racism is not a social construction. We are born with certain instincts. Let say to go from point A to point B we all go in a straight line, not in a curbed one. We are also born with certain attributes of what is beautiful. Certain races do not fit in our biological construction of beautiful. Of course this ideas are transmitted from parent to child as an important knowledge the same way we teach farming or science.
    I believe in the future before the people get married will require each other a DNA test to avoid miscegenation.
    I pretty much agree, racism/nationalism seems to be a genetic trait based on evolution of group protection mechanism. However there is a social learned aspect of racism. The selection, the identification of the group you belong to. For example you can adopt a white european kid into a family in Kenya. He will grow up loving Kenya and treating black Kenyans as their own kind. Perhaps even dreaming about being black to fit in even better.

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