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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Tribalism in our society

Tribalism is the possession of an identity (cultural, ethnic, national, etc.) that divides a member of one group from members of another group. The identity can be based on residence, membership in political parties, skin color, ethnic background, religion, occupation, income level, mental health status, gender, age, health status … all the way to support of different sports teams. There are in-groups and out-groups. We…

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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, and gender (among other things). The fact the 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 “authoritative model” of…

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In-group bias is ingrained in humans

News: 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…

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