Tag Archives: Race & Ethnicity
They Quietly Judged Him For His Skin Color Then They Got A Shocking Surprise. Greek filmmaker Nancy Spetsioti directed Tzafar, a powerful short film about casual, every day racism. Its subtlety underscores a powerful and timeless message about how we treat other people.
Discussions about racism should be all-inclusive and open to people of all skin colors. However, to put it simply, sometimes White people lack the experience or education that can provide a rudimentary foundation from which a productive conversation can be built. This is not necessarily the fault of the individual, but pervasive myths and misinformation have dominated mainstream racial discourse and often times, the important issues are never highlighted. For that reason, The Frisky has decided to publish this handy list that has some basic rules and information to better prepare anyone for a worthwhile discussion about racism.
PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE Director: Ari Luis Palos; Producer: Eren Isabel McGinnis Documentary/60 Minutes PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE interweaves the transformative stories of students in the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School. The program has become a model of educational success with 100% of their students graduating from high school and 82% attending college. We filmed their social justice throughout an entire school year to document disenfranchised youth becoming engaged, informed and active Chicanos. However, Arizona lawmakers believe the students are being indoctrinated with dangerous ideology and that the classes teach anti-American, anti-capitalist destructive ethnic chauvinism.
PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE is a co-production of Dos Vatos Productions, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), produced in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and Arizona Public Media, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
For more information about LPB, please visit the website at: www.lpbp.org.
In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).
Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I’ll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.
August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice
Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 26 January 2012 Time: 10:29 AM ET
|A new study finds links between low intelligence and racism, prejudice and homophobia.
CREDIT: ArTono, Shutterstock
There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.
The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.
“Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood,” he said.
The findings combine three hot-button topics.
“They’ve pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics,” said Brian Nosek, a social and cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved in the study. “When one selects intelligence, political ideology and racism and looks at any of the relationships between those three variables, it’s bound to upset somebody.”
Polling data and social and political science research do show that prejudice is more common in those who hold right-wing ideals that those of other political persuasions, Nosek told LiveScience. [7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You]
“The unique contribution here is trying to make some progress on the most challenging aspect of this,” Nosek said, referring to the new study. “It’s not that a relationship like that exists, but why it exists.”
Brains and bias
Earlier studies have found links between low levels of education and higher levels of prejudice, Hodson said, so studying intelligence seemed a logical next step. The researchers turned to two studies of citizens in the United Kingdom, one that has followed babies since their births in March 1958, and another that did the same for babies born in April 1970. The children in the studies had their intelligence assessed at age 10 or 11; as adults ages 30 or 33, their levels of social conservatism and racism were measured. [Life’s Extremes: Democrat vs. Republican]
In the first study, verbal and nonverbal intelligence was measured using tests that asked people to find similarities and differences between words, shapes and symbols. The second study measured cognitive abilities in four ways, including number recall, shape-drawing tasks, defining words and identifying patterns and similarities among words. Average IQ is set at 100.
Social conservatives were defined as people who agreed with a laundry list of statements such as “Family life suffers if mum is working full-time,” and “Schools should teach children to obey authority.” Attitudes toward other races were captured by measuring agreement with statements such as “I wouldn’t mind working with people from other races.” (These questions measured overt prejudiced attitudes, but most people, no matter how egalitarian, do hold unconscious racial biases; Hodson’s work can’t speak to this “underground” racism.)
As suspected, low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. But the factor that explained the relationship between these two variables was political: When researchers included social conservatism in the analysis, those ideologies accounted for much of the link between brains and bias.
People with lower cognitive abilities also had less contact with people of other races.
“This finding is consistent with recent research demonstrating that intergroup contact is mentally challenging and cognitively draining, and consistent with findings that contact reduces prejudice,” said Hodson, who along with his colleagues published these results online Jan. 5 in the journal Psychological Science.
A study of averages
Hodson was quick to note that the despite the link found between low intelligence and social conservatism, the researchers aren’t implying that all liberals are brilliant and all conservatives stupid. The research is a study of averages over large groups, he said.
“There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals,” Hodson said.
Nosek gave another example to illustrate the dangers of taking the findings too literally.
“We can say definitively men are taller than women on average,” he said. “But you can’t say if you take a random man and you take a random woman that the man is going to be taller. There’s plenty of overlap.”
Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.
“Socially conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order,” Hodson said, explaining why these beliefs might draw those with low intelligence. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice.”
In another study, this one in the United States, Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people with the same amount of education but different levels of ability in abstract reasoning. They found that what applies to racism may also apply to homophobia. People who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against gays. As in the U.K. citizens, a lack of contact with gays and more acceptance of right-wing authoritarianism explained the link. [5 Myths About Gay People Debunked]
Hodson and Busseri’s explanation of their findings is reasonable, Nosek said, but it is correlational. That means the researchers didn’t conclusively prove that the low intelligence caused the later prejudice. To do that, you’d have to somehow randomly assign otherwise identical people to be smart or dumb, liberal or conservative. Those sorts of studies obviously aren’t possible.
The researchers controlled for factors such as education and socioeconomic status, making their case stronger, Nosek said. But there are other possible explanations that fit the data. For example, Nosek said, a study of left-wing liberals with stereotypically naïve views like “every kid is a genius in his or her own way,” might find that people who hold these attitudes are also less bright. In other words, it might not be a particular ideology that is linked to stupidity, but extremist views in general.
“My speculation is that it’s not as simple as their model presents it,” Nosek said. “I think that lower cognitive capacity can lead to multiple simple ways to represent the world, and one of those can be embodied in a right-wing ideology where ‘People I don’t know are threats’ and ‘The world is a dangerous place‘. … Another simple way would be to just assume everybody is wonderful.”
Prejudice is of particular interest because understanding the roots of racism and bias could help eliminate them, Hodson said. For example, he said, many anti-prejudice programs encourage participants to see things from another group’s point of view. That mental exercise may be too taxing for people of low IQ.
“There may be cognitive limits in the ability to take the perspective of others, particularly foreigners,” Hodson said. “Much of the present research literature suggests that our prejudices are primarily emotional in origin rather than cognitive. These two pieces of information suggest that it might be particularly fruitful for researchers to consider strategies to change feelings toward outgroups,” rather than thoughts.
HISTORY, EFFECTS OF STEREOTYPING EXAMINED IN NEW ARAB MUSEUM WEB-EXCLUSIVE EXHIBITION Dearborn, MI (June 7, 2011) – Where did stereotypes about Arab Americans originate? What effects do they have on us as individuals and as a nation? How can they be defused? These are just a few of the significant questions explored in Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes, the AANM’s powerful new web-exclusive multimedia exhibition at www.arabstereotypes.org. Guest curated by Dr. Evelyn Alsultany, Reclaiming Identity employs eye-opening research, vintage and contemporary images, film clips and video interviews with scholars and experts to trace the history of these stereotypes and give viewers the tools to identify and understand them. Viewers are asked to record their reactions and responses to what they have learned in the site’s blog, which is continually updated with new and relevant information. Reclaiming Identity goes on to position the history of Arab representations in the U.S. in the context of that of other minority groups, and offers direct contrasts between stereotypical representations of Arabs and the lived experiences of Arab Americans from the early 1900s to the present. “Our goal in creating the site is to highlight the discrepancy between images of Arabs – from exotic sheiks and harem girls to threatening terrorists – and who Arabs and Arab Americans truly are in their diversity as human beings,” says Alsultany, an assistant professor in the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Her research focuses on representations of Arab and Muslim Americans in the U.S. mainstream media post-9/11. Visitors to the site will become familiar with Orientalism – a term defined by the late scholar Edward Said to refer to the distorted lens through which Arabs are commonly seen as exotic or dangerous in the West. In addition to viewing Orientalist images from U.S. popular culture over the last century, visitors will also have the opportunity to gain an understanding of Othering – the process by which societies exclude groups from rights – by seeing how this has historically impacted a range of ethnic groups from African Americans to Native Americans. “My hope is that visitors to the site will come to see all stereotypical images in a new way – as having the power to influence human relations and government policies,” Alsultany says. Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes was made possible by The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and Arts of Citizenship at the University of Michigan. The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates and educates the public on the history, life, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. It serves as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at www.arabamericanmuseum.org and www.accesscommunity.org. The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at http://affiliations.si.edu.