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Sun Nov 4, 2018, 06:18 AM

The Psychology of Anti-Semitism

After the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which a white supremacist shot to death 11 people while screaming, “All Jews must die,” a Jewish girl in New York sent an anguished note to her mother. “I know I shouldn’t feel like I don’t have an answer to this question,” she wrote in a text message that was later shared on social media. “But why do people hate us?”

Her bafflement was understandable. Many people, of course, favor the groups they belong to and dislike groups they don’t belong to; that is the regrettable foundation of prejudice. But not all groups are disliked the same way: Why are some groups (such as homeless people) dismissed or neglected in a relatively steady stream of scorn, while other groups (such as Jewish people) are subjected to sudden waves of virulent, even exterminatory attacks?

For many decades psychologists conceived of prejudice as a one-dimensional antipathy: People love their “in-groups” and hate “out-groups.” But this us-versus-them approach failed to account for prejudice’s real-world complexities.

To better understand the various ways in which bigotry manifests, the psychologists Susan Fiske, Peter Glick and I developed a new theory of prejudice, one that focuses on the content of stereotypes of out-groups. We have found that how an out-group is stereotyped predicts how the prejudice against it gets expressed. This theory — tested over more than 20 years by us and others in hundreds of studies, with tens of thousands of participants, across many cultures — helps explain why anti-Semitism often erupts in such violent bursts.


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Reply The Psychology of Anti-Semitism (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Nov 2018 OP
Igel Nov 2018 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:50 AM

1. This has been around in the pop sci press for a while.

Not "years", but probably a year.

However, every presentation has been how the dominant culture or group in the US views others--with, for the most part, a carefully culled set of "others" to protect the sensibilities of people in those groups as well, I think, to protect the sensibilities of many in the dominant group. In either case, ultimately white men are privileged in the presentation of the theory because the examples are entirely from their POV, and plausibly in the construction of the theory because it just might work best for that group.

What's interesting is when you start looking at prejudices and biases on the part of non-whites and non-men in the US, and when you start applying it to pogroms and discrimination outside the US or Europe. Because, after all, if it's a theory of discrimination then it should apply to all forms of intergroup (dis)trust and discrimination.

Outgroup bias against "competent" is already covered in negative solidarity, of course.

It's also interesting to see how this works with the claims made against Harvard in the SCOTUS aff. am. suit. The predicts the kinds of judgments that Harvard's claimed to have made about blacks and Asians on the basis of their race/ethnicity.

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