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Quick Review of Terms Stereotypes are usually false generalizations: assumption that people of shared religious, ethnic, cultural, or other characteristics.

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Presentation on theme: "Quick Review of Terms Stereotypes are usually false generalizations: assumption that people of shared religious, ethnic, cultural, or other characteristics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quick Review of Terms Stereotypes are usually false generalizations: assumption that people of shared religious, ethnic, cultural, or other characteristics are the same (All aboriginals are alcoholics) Prejudice is a belief: often based on stereotypes – it divides groups into categories of inferiority and superiority (anti-Semitism) Discrimination acting on your prejudice (a young black man getting turned down a promotion in favour a white man)

2 Unlearning & Ending Prejudice 1.Psychological & Sociological Theories 2.Educational Strategies 3.What we can do NOW

3 Cognitive Dissonance The theory was developed by psychologist Leon Festinger in The most favoured theory of belief and behavioural change. Definition: People try to avoid conflicts between what they think and what they do.

4 Cognitive Dissonance  Example: Sam Smith is out with his friends at the mall. They see two men walking together holding hands. Sam’s friends yell out at the men, “Fags!”. Sam then follows suit.  However, Sam was taking the HSB 4M0 course in high school and was learning about prejudice & discrimination in class.  He was starting to understand that it is wrong to judge other people based on their differences. Yet, he still committed an act of Hate speech.

5 Cognitive Dissonance  However, this act made Sam very uncomfortable/upset and he may try to avoid conflict. He may stop attending his HSB course thereby avoiding the lecture on prejudice & discrimination  In this case, Sam is experiencing dissonance – his action/behaviour conflicted with a belief.  What can Sam do to resolve this dissonance?

6 Cognitive Dissonance to Cognitive Consistency  Sam can resolve this conflict by changing his behaviour.  Not make hurtful comments, attend class to learn more about prejudice and discrimination, …  Once Sam does this, he will reach “cognitive consistency”, the state in which are are beliefs are “in sync” with our behaviours and we lead a more happy and satisfied life.

7 Inter-group Cooperation  Term coined by sociologists M. Sherif and L.J. Harvey  Conducted a study known as the “Robber’s Cave” to determine if prejudice can be unlearned.

8 Robber’s Cave – Part I  2 groups of 11 yr old white middle class boys were segregated at a camp  They conducted all activities such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, within their own groups  Then the groups were brought together to have athletic competitions  What was the result?

9 The Robber’s Cave  The 2 groups immediately disliked each other.  Escalation: fighting occurred on and off the athletic field, cabin-break-ins, vandalism, and theft

10 The Robber’s Cave – Part II  The researchers tested whether they could get the boys to unlearn the prejudice that has been created.  They created a number of emergency situations and then assigned cooperative inter-group teams to solve them.  Result: The boys from both teams had formed many inter-group friendship – they unlearned their previous prejudice.  Problems with this study?

11 Educational Strategies  In keeping with the Robber’s Cave experiment, social psychologist Elliot Aronson identified similar tensions in classrooms.  Classrooms were competitive environments in which students were struggling with one another for a chance to gain recognition

12 Jigsaw Cooperative Learning  Aronson decided that learning would need to be restructured in a more cooperative way, based on mixed teams made up of different ethnic groups.  He believed that this would help eliminate prejudice by maximizing student equality

13 Jigsaw Cooperative Learning  Each member of a team becomes an “expert” on a different section of a particular topic.  Each group of students must then cooperate as a team to learn the whole topic.  He found that within 8 weeks, prejudice was reduced.

14 Discussion about Prejudice  Aboud, Tatum, and Allport all agreed that children at the age of four, should be taught about prejudice and discrimination.  Why?  According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive childhood development, this is the age when children become aware of ethnic differences

15 What can we do NOW?  refuse to laugh at racist or sexist jokes  refuse to see movies, read books, play video games or participate in actives that promote violence or discrimination against certain groups  confront your friends or peers who express prejudiced or discriminatory beliefs  confront prejudice in schools by working with a diverse group of people

16 Most Importantly Self-reflect, realise, and understand your own biases and prejudices – we all have them! EDUCATE!!

17 Helpful Resources  Pamphlet entitled, “101 Ways To Combat Prejudice”. Available for download at: Kids Help Phone:


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