Voter suppression and nonvoting is a social norm in the United States

Read this — it’s important! The United States prides itself on being a model for democracy. And, yet, widespread (and increasing) voter suppression and high rates of nonvoting have occurred for so long in the US that they have become accepted and a social norm. As a representative democracy, the US compares unfavorably with many places in the world. If you are a minority or…

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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 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 highest elected official in the United States, a position with immense influence in the U.S. and in other countries, makes these statements on a regular basis creates a norm–a standard, an…

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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: Scapegoats and self-blame

Scapegoating is “the act of blaming and often punishing a person or a group for a negative outcome that is due, in large part, to other causes.” Scapegoating is alive and well in the United States and many other countries. It’s not a new phenomenon.  Scapegoating has been going on for centuries–think of the witch hysteria and trials in Europe and America that lasted into…

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Essential workers: economic and health vulnerability

We live in a very unequal society in the United States. Many have pointed this out for years and the COVID-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated this inequality. The poor, the sick, the old, the young, those who are “different”, those with little political power, and on and on … these people have borne the brunt for decades. These people have seen little benefit from economic…

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