Discrimination based on how we talk and how we sound

Does discrimination happen based on how people talk and sound? Based on accents, word choice, enunciation, emotion, etc.? In the United States, people can be judged harshly because they do not sound “American” or do not speak what a person may consider is “standard English”, or because they (often women) show emotion through voice and actions in a way considered inappropriate (but not when a…

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Why do we fear change?

“Fear of change is a natural impulse; the desire to pull up the drawbridge follows. But as we have repeatedly reported, that response is irrational and self-defeating” (New Scientist, 18 June 2016, volume 230(3078), 5). Why do human beings fear and resist change? Every day in our lives, more things change than stay the same. Change is the most stable and enduring condition of life…

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Updated: In-group bias is ingrained in humans

Adults and children–even children as young as three–“are really quick to sort themselves into … social groups and to form a preference for their in-group.” This tendency has been found in people–again, even children–across “gender, race or ethnicity, language, nationality, and religion.” Decades of research indicate that in-group favoritism occurs even when the group is based on very superficial criteria; the group does not have…

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Updated: Prejudice, discrimination and social norms

News: Donald Trump, the former President of the United States, continues to make and post derogatory statements that are based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and a host of other things. The fact that the (former) highest elected official in the United States, a position with immense influence in the U.S. and in other countries, makes and made these statements on a regular basis creates…

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Updated: The psychological origins of prejudice, discrimination, and racism

Are people “hard-wired” to discriminate based on skin color, ethnicity, religion, place of origin, gender, sexual identity, etc.? Is it hereditary? Do we have no choice? Or, is it learned? As children, are we taught to discriminate by our parents, our greater family, in school, in church, by our friends? If we learn to be racist, can we learn not to be racist? If so,…

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Revisiting: Politics and Fear

Whipping up fear is a common tactic in politics. Providing stark, seemingly life or death choices, us versus them, scapegoating, creating a false bogeyman to distract from real problems, using lies and disinformation … fear is used because it often works. The invoked fear is often based on racism and bias. It’s those “other people”–with a different skin color, from another place, who follow a…

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