Race, Ethnicity, and Hate Crimes

Race, Ethnicity, and Hate Crimes

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1. Define the following terms in one to two sentences each? Ethnocentrism, hate crime, stereotype.

Ethnocentrism can be defined as an individual’s belief that the ethnic group or cultural they identify with is superior to all others. “The ethnocentric person judges other groups and other cultures by the standards of his or her own group” (Schaefer 34).

A hate crime is a crime, usually involving violence or intimidation committed against others based partially or entirely on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or membership in another social group.

“Stereotypes unreliable, exaggerated generalizations about all members of a group that do not take individual differences into account” (Schaefer 40). Stereotypes can be positive, but are usually associated with negative beliefs or actions such as racial profiling.


2. Differentiate between prejudice and discrimination.

While prejudice and discrimination are closely related, the terms are not interchangeable. Prejudice is a negative attitude, feelings, thoughts or beliefs toward an entire category of people. There are two important factors that are present in the definition of prejudice, and they are attitude and entire category (Schaefer 35).

“Discrimination is the denial of opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups because of prejudice or for other arbitrary reasons” (Schaefer 35). Discrimination differs from prejudice as it refers to the behavior or action usually based on prejudice rather than just thoughts.


3. Briefly summarize the following theories of prejudice: scapegoating, authoritarian personality, exploitation, normative approach.

Scapegoating is when a person irrationally blames their failures on others, therefore not taking responsibility themselves. The “scapegoating theory says that prejudiced people believe they are society’s victims” (Schaefer 38). It is always someone else’s fault that things do not go their way and the person “… transfers the responsibility for failure to some vulnerable group” (Schaefer 38).


A psychological construct called the authoritarian personality believes that a person’s upbringing can result in intolerance as an adult. The rigid personality type dislikes people who are different. “A child with an authoritarian upbringing obeyed and then later treated others as he or she had been raised (Schaefer 39).

The exploitation theory involves one group of people, usually the majority, using another group of people for their own economic gain. “Racial prejudice is often used to justify keeping a group in a subordinate economic position’ (Schaefer 39). Exploitation is seen when a minority group competes with the majority group. “Karl Marx emphasized exploitation of the lower class as an integral part of capitalism” (Schaefer 39).

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“The normative approach takes the view that prejudice is influenced by societal norms and situations that encourage or discourage the tolerance of minorities” (Schaefer 40). Normative approach can also be seen as peer pressure or the desire to conform to the accepted attitude of the social group.

4. Identify three sources of intergroup hostility.

Prejudice is the primary contributor to intergroup hostility. Every population suffers from prejudice between the majority and minority groups. Prejudice can be directed at racial and ethnic minorities by people in dominant positions but also intergroup hostility among the minority groups also exists and may become violent (Schaefer 40). Prejudice is associated with the belief that gains for other racial and ethnic) groups will result in losses for one’s own—a zero sum game (Dangelo 153).

Competition is a source of intergroup hostility. “When the position of the dominant group is challenged, race prejudice emerges” (Dangelo 153). Competition can occur between the majority and minority groups or between two minority groups. ”Often low-income people are competing daily with other low-income people and do not readily see the larger societal forces that contribute to their low status” (Schaefer 47-48). Completion is often about scarce resources such as education, employment and housing.

Stereotypes are yet another source of intergroup hostility. Stereotypes pit entire groups of people against each one another based on nothing more than unreliable generalizations about all members of a group. Stereotypes are particularly harmful as they do not account for individual differences (Schaefer 40). Stereotypes can occur between minority groups as well as between the majority and minority groups.



5. Briefly identify three ways to reduce prejudice.
One way to decrease prejudice is through education. It has been noted that special programs are not enough to reduce a lifetime of prejudice but formal education seems to have some effect. “Studies document that increased formal education, regardless of content, is associated with racial tolerance. Research data show that highly educated people are more likely to indicate respect and liking for groups different from themselves” (Schaefer 49). Some people claim that education does not reduce prejudice but makes people better equipped to cover it up. Of course the most important and perhaps most influential education one receives is in the home as a child.
“Whereas for most whites racism is prejudice, for most people of color racism is systemic or institutionalized” (Dangelo 89) We must be taught that other groups define certain terms differently.

“Mass media, like schools, may reduce prejudice without requiring specially designed programs. Television, radio, motion pictures, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet present only a portion of real life, but what effect do they have on prejudice if the content is racist or antiracist, sexist or antisexist” (Schaefer 49)? Considering how much time today’s youth spends watching television often unsupervised, at a minimum we should demand that nonracist content that promotes tolerance is provided. If prejudice is portrayed as funny, we are then reinforcing a negative.
“In an effort to improve workplace relations, most organizations have initiated some form of diversity training. These programs are aimed at eliminating circumstances and relationships that cause groups to receive fewer rewards, resources, or opportunities” (Schaefer 53). Since employers need to comply with laws, the work place is an ideal place to educate people. This would involve employees at all levels. If employees are taught what discrimination is they will also be made aware of what constitutes prejudice.


Works Cited
D’Angelo , Raymond and Douglas, Herbert. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Race and Ethnicity (8th Edition). New York: Contemporary Learning Series group within the McGraw-Hill Higher Education division, 2011. 152-176

Schaefer, Richard T. Racial and Ethnic Groups (13thedition). United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012

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