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Strengths weaknesses of cognitive theory in its application to anti discriminatory practice

We focus our discussion on discrimination against disadvantaged racial minorities. Our definition encompasses both individual behaviors and institutional practices.

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To be able to measure the existence and extent of racial discrimination of a particular kind in a particular social or economic domain, it is necessary to have a theory or concept or model of how such discrimination might occur and what its effects might be.

The theory or model, in turn, specifies the data that are needed to test the theory, appropriate methods for analyzing the data, and the assumptions that the data and analysis must satisfy in order to support a finding of discrimination.

Without such a theory, analysts may conduct studies that do not have interpretable results and do not stand up to rigorous scrutiny. The purpose of this chapter is to help researchers think through appropriate models of discrimination to guide their choice of data and analytic methods for measurement. We begin by discussing four types of discrimination and the various mechanisms that may lead to such discrimination.

The first three types involve behaviors of individuals and organizations: The fourth type involves discriminatory practices embedded in an organizational culture. Next, we compare these discriminatory behaviors and institutional practices with existing legal standards defining discrimination in the courts Page 56 Share Cite Suggested Citation: The National Academies Press. We then discuss how these discriminatory behaviors and practices might operate within the domains of education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and health.

Finally, we discuss concepts of how cumulative discrimination might operate across domains and over time to produce lasting consequences for disadvantaged racial groups. This chapter is not concerned with identifying the relative importance of the various types of discrimination; rather, it is designed to present a set of conceptual possibilities that can motivate and strengths weaknesses of cognitive theory in its application to anti discriminatory practice appropriate research study designs.

Yet discrimination can include more than just direct behavior such as the denial of employment or rental opportunities ; it can also be subtle and unconscious such as nonverbal hostility in posture or tone of voice.

Furthermore, discrimination against an individual may be based on overall assumptions about members of a disadvantaged racial group that are assumed to apply to that individual i.

Discrimination may also occur as the result of institutional procedures rather than individual behaviors. Intentional, Explicit Discrimination In 1954, Gordon Allport, an early leader in comprehensive social science analysis of prejudice and discrimination, articulated the sequential steps by which an individual behaves negatively toward members of another racial group: Each step enables the next, as people learn by doing. In most cases, people strengths weaknesses of cognitive theory in its application to anti discriminatory practice not get to the later steps without receiving support for their behavior in the earlier ones.

In this section, we describe these forms of explicit prejudice. By themselves such comments may not be regarded as serious enough to be unlawful balanced against concerns about freedom of speechbut they constitute a clear form of hostility. Together with nonverbal expressions of antagonism, they can create a hostile environment in schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods Essed, 1997; Feagin, 1991.

Verbal and nonverbal hostility are first steps on a continuum of interracial harm-doing. In laboratory experiments see Chapter 6 for detailed discussionverbal abuse and nonverbal rejection are reliable indicators of Page 57 Share Cite Suggested Citation: They also precede and vary with more overtly damaging forms of treatment, such as denial of employment Dovidio et al.

Such nonverbal hostility reliably undermines the performance of otherwise equivalent interviewees. In settings of discretionary contact—that is, in which people may choose to associate or not—members of disadvantaged racial groups may be isolated.

In social situations, people may self-segregate along racial lines. In work settings, discretionary contact may force out-group members into lower-status occupations Johnson and Stafford, 1998 or undermine the careers of those excluded from informal networks. Sociological studies have measured avoidance in discretionary social contact situations by report or observation Pettigrew, 1998b; Pettigrew and Tropp, 2000.

In legal settings, avoidance of casual contact can appear as evidence indicating hostile intent. Avoidance may appear harmless in any given situation but, when cumulated across situations, can lead to long-term exclusion and segregation. It may be particularly problematic in situations in which social networking matters, such as employment hiring and promotion, educational opportunities, and access to health care.

Avoiding another person because of race can be just as damaging as more active and direct abuse.

  1. Why is information limited in such cases? Differences between the ingroup and outgroup linguistic, cultural, religious, sexual are often exaggerated, so that outgroup members are portrayed as outsiders worthy of avoidance and exclusion.
  2. This may help the aid of having extra help in the rooms as they can afford extra nursery nurses which will allow the children to be first priority in every occasion.
  3. This history has done more than change individual cognitive responses; it has also deeply affected institutional processes. In most cases, people do not get to the later steps without receiving support for their behavior in the earlier ones.
  4. Moreover, even the 90 percent who report support for equal opportunity laws show less support when specific remedies are mentioned see Chapter 8. It can affect both short-term outcomes and long-term behavior if individuals in the disadvantaged group expect such discrimination will occur.
  5. Subtle, Unconscious, Automatic Discrimination Even as a national consensus has developed that explicit racial hostility is abhorrent, people may still hold prejudicial attitudes, stemming in part from past U.

Segregation occurs when people actively exclude members of a disadvantaged racial group from the allocation of resources and from access to institutions. The most common examples include denial of equal education, housing, employment, and health care on the basis of race. The majority of Americans about 90 percent in most current surveys; Bobo, 2001 support laws enforcing fair and equal opportunity in these areas.

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The data indicate that these hardcore discriminators view their own group as threatened by racial outgroups Duckitt, 2001. Moreover, even the 90 percent who report support for equal opportunity laws show less support when specific remedies are mentioned see Chapter 8. Physical attacks on racial outgroups have frequently been perpetrated by proponents of segregation Green et al.

  1. The psychological literature on subtle prejudice describes this phenom- Page 59 Share Cite Suggested Citation.
  2. A second weakness is that the nursery nurses might fail to put the children first each time, for example if the two children are upset or hurt the nursery nurse might have to pick one which would leave the other injured or crying.
  3. Together with nonverbal expressions of antagonism, they can create a hostile environment in schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods Essed, 1997; Feagin, 1991. To resolve this each situation needs to be thought through beforehand to prevent anyone in the nursery getting hurt and injured whether it is care providers of the service users.
  4. There are a variety of other domains, such as civic participation, in which racial differences in outcomes are large, and discrimination is a valid social concern. Each step enables the next, as people learn by doing.
  5. Subtle forms of racism are indirect, automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent. A final weakness is limited funding will prevent each individual from getting the undivided attention that they might need as another child is occupying the teachers time, limited funding will prevent the children having more than one teacher in a room as they cannot leave a room full of nursery children unattended at any time.

Extermination or mass killings based on racial or ethnic animus do occur. These are complex phenomena; in addition to the sorts of individual hostility and prejudice described above, they typically encompass histories of institutionalized prejudice and discrimination, difficult life conditions, strong and prejudiced leadership, social support for hostile acts, and socialization that accepts explicit discrimination Allport, 1954; Newman and Erber, 2002; Staub, 1989.

Our report focuses more on the levels of discrimination most often addressed by social scientists. In most cases involving complaints about racial discrimination in the United States, explicit discrimination is expressed through verbal and nonverbal antagonism and through racial avoidance and denial of certain opportunities because of race. Racial segregation is, of course, no longer legally sanctioned in the United States, although instances of de facto segregation continue to occur.

Subtle, Unconscious, Automatic Discrimination Even as a national consensus has developed that explicit racial hostility is abhorrent, people may still hold prejudicial attitudes, stemming in part from past U. Although prejudicial attitudes do not necessarily result in discriminatory behavior with adverse effects, the persistence of such attitudes can result in unconscious and subtle forms of racial discrimination in place of more explicit, direct hostility. Such subtle prejudice is often abetted by differential media portrayals of nonwhites versus whites, as well as de facto segregation in housing, education, and occupations.

The psychological literature on subtle prejudice describes this phenom- Page 59 Share Cite Suggested Citation: Members of the ingroup face an internal conflict, resulting from the disconnect between the societal rejection of racist behaviors and the societal persistence of racist attitudes Dovidio and Gaertner, 1986; Katz and Hass, 1988; McConahay, 1986.

Subtle forms of racism are indirect, automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent. We discuss each of these manifestations of subtle prejudice in turn Fiske, 1998, 2002 and then examine their implications for discriminatory behavior.

Indirect prejudice leads ingroup members to blame the outgroup—the disadvantaged racial group—for their disadvantage Hewstone et al. The blame takes a Catch-22 form: The outgroup members should try harder and not be lazy, but at the same time they should not impose themselves where they are not wanted. Such attitudes on the part of ingroup members are a manifestation of indirect prejudice.

Differences between the ingroup and outgroup linguistic, cultural, religious, sexual are often exaggerated, so that outgroup members are portrayed as outsiders worthy of avoidance strengths weaknesses of cognitive theory in its application to anti discriminatory practice exclusion.

Indirect prejudice can also lead to support for policies that disadvantage nonwhites. Subtle prejudice can also be unconscious and automatic, as ingroup members unconsciously categorize outgroup members on the basis of race, gender, and age Fiske, 1998.

People have been shown to respond to even subliminal exposure to outgroups in these automatic, uncontrollable ways Dovidio et al. However, the social context in which people encounter an outgroup member can shape such instantaneous responses.

Outgroup members who are familiar, subordinate, or unique do not elicit the same reactions as those who are unfamiliar, dominant, or undifferentiated Devine, 2001; Fiske, 2002. Such automatic reactions have also been shown to lead to automatic forms of stereotype-confirming behavior Bargh et al. The main effect of subtle prejudice seems to be to favor the ingroup rather than to directly disadvantage the outgroup; in this sense, such prejudice is ambiguous rather than unambiguous.

That is, the prejudice could indicate greater liking for the majority rather than greater disliking for the minority. As a practical matter, in a zero-sum setting, ingroup advantage often results in the same outcome as outgroup disadvantage but not always. Empirically, ingroup members spontaneously reward the ingroup, allocating discretionary resources to their own kind and thereby relatively disadvantaging the outgroup Brewer and Brown, 1998.

People spontaneously view their own ingroups but not the outgroup in a positive light, attributing its strengths to the essence of what makes a person part of the ingroup genes being a major example. These ambiguous allocations and attributions constitute another subtle form of discrimination.

According to theories of ambivalent prejudice e. Outgroups may be disrespected but liked in a condescending manner. At other times, outgroups may be respected but disliked. White reactions to black professionals can exemplify this behavior. Some racial outgroups elicit both disrespect and dislike. Poor people, welfare recipients, and homeless people all erroneously perceived to be black more often than white frequently elicit an unambivalent and hostile response. The important point is that reactions need not be entirely negative to foster discrimination.

One might, for example, fail to promote someone on the basis of race, perceiving the person to be deferential, cooperative, and nice but essentially incompetent, whereas a comparable ingroup member might receive additional training or support to develop greater competence.

All manifestations of subtle prejudice—indirect, automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent—constitute barriers to full equality of treatment. Subtle prejudice is much more difficult to document than more overt forms, and its effects on discriminatory behavior are more difficult to capture. Generally, an emerging pattern of results from laboratory research see, e. In any event, the implicit measures have been shown to be statistically reliable Cunningham et al.

Some of these laboratory findings have been generalized to the real world—for example, in contrasting subtle and explicit forms of prejudice Pettigrew, 1998b and in research on specific phenomena, such as ingroup favoritism Brewer and Brown, 1998. The discussion of experimental methods in Chapter 6 elaborates on this point. Statistical Discrimination and Profiling Another process that may result in adverse discriminatory consequences for members of a disadvantaged racial group is known as statistical discrimination or profiling.

In this situation, an individual or firm uses overall beliefs about a group to make decisions about an individual from that group Arrow, 1973; Coate and Loury, 1993; Lundberg and Startz, 1983; Phelps, 1972. The perceived group characteristics are assumed to apply to the individual. When beliefs about a group are based on racial stereotypes resulting from explicit prejudice or on some of the more subtle forms of ingroupversus-outgroup perceptual biases, then discrimination on the basis of such beliefs is indistinguishable from the explicit prejudice discussed above.

Statistical discrimination or profiling, properly defined, refers to situations of discrimination on the basis of beliefs that reflect the actual distributions of Page 62 Share Cite Suggested Citation: Even though such discrimination could be viewed as economically rational, it is illegal in such situations as hiring because it uses group characteristics to make decisions about individuals.

Why might employers or other decision makers employ statistical discrimination? There are incentives to statistically discriminate in situations in which information is limited, which is often the case. For example, graduate school applicants provide only a few pages of written information about themselves, job applicants are judged on the basis of a one-page resume or a brief interview, and airport security officers see only external appearance.

In such situations, the decision maker must make assessments about a host of unknown factors, such as effort, intelligence, or intentions, based on highly limited observation. Why is information limited in such cases? Instead, decision makers look for signals that cannot easily be faked and are correlated with the attributes a decision maker is seeking.

Education is a prime example. Strengths weaknesses of cognitive theory in its application to anti discriminatory practice, decision makers must regularly make judgments about people based on the things they do know and decide whether to invest in acquiring further information Lundberg, 1991.

In the face of incomplete information, they may factor in knowledge about differences in average group characteristics that relate to the individual characteristics being sought.