Feb 16

Am I who you think I am?

Diversity, prejudice and discrimination have many ways of showing themselves in our everyday lives. One form of prejudice that we do not normally think about is when we have an attitude about someone based solely on whom they hang out with. Popularity in high school is social threat on who we actually are.

It has been many years (20 to be exact) since I have been in high school. However, one thing still remains clear, that during this time of growth of our personalities we are judged more severally then any other times in our lives. The amount of stereotypes that are believed at this age is the worst in our lives. We have yet to know who we really are. We are afraid to be who we are and we are afraid to be different then the others around us. We each think we have an idea of who the people are around us. We believe that the characteristics, attributes, and behaviors of certain groups at our school are who these people are. (Schneider, 2012) For example, you might believe that all jocks are not smart, only care about themselves and have a need to be popular. However, what we think we know is probably furthest from the truth.

These mistaken beliefs of stereotypes are a form of prejudice that can effect how we treat people. Many teenagers have the fear that someone will determine that their behavior and personality does not match the same as others around them. That they are not who they say they are.

When I was in high school I was not the stereotypical cheerleader. Most people were under the assumption that as a cheerleader I was popular, only hung out with popular kids and was not smart. While I was defiantly not the smartest in my class I choose not to be what people thought I should be. Even though I knew the popular kids I never really hung out with them. I had my close personal friends and I knew they liked me for who I was, not what they thought I should be.

Many teenagers start to have conflicts within themselves about whom they are. Personal identity reflects who we believe we are and the personal qualities and characteristics that identify us to the outside world. (Schneider, 2012) If our personal identity is questioned then they start to believe or give in to the stereotypes that others put them into.

As a parent of any child it is important that they understand they should always be comfortable with their own personal identity. Teaching them to be tolerant of others and teaching them to respect everyone for who they are. Stereotypes can be hard to get around in life but teaching tolerance of others can help. Teaching your children about the diversity of others and how prejudice and discrimination can affect everyone’s lives is important to social changes.


Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied social psychology:
Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 16

Who is FOB?

In 2015, ABC launched a new TV series called ‘Fresh off the Boat”. Although it’s not the first show on prime time television with Asian Americans, it is the first where the story centers on Asian Americans.  This was not only a huge step for Asian Americans; it is also a breakthrough of the glass ceiling that minorities have always been challenged with in any industry. In an interview with the writer of the show, Nahnatchka Khan he states,” This show isn’t about me, nor is it about Asian America.  The network won’t take that gamble right now…. “  Characters were exotized and urbanized so it caters to the current viewers.  It is also a sad fact because it shows the level of diversity the general public is willing to accept.

Los Angeles may be considered one of the most diverse cities in the US.  Growing up in Los Angeles I have accepted diversity very naturally because it’s like a melting pot in this city.  However, there are still many diversity conflicts and issues and surprisingly they are mainly coming from new immigrants or minorities.   I was 4 when my family moved to Los Angeles from Asia; I grew up in a White/Hispanic area.  Twenty years later, Denny’s have been replaced by Boba shops, Albertsons have been replaced by 168 supermarkets and Bank of America is so Shanghai Bank.  The city is now an Asian oriented area and is even known to many as the “New Chinatown”  What baffles me is that there was a recent complaint by non-Asian groups that all of the retail signs are only in Chinese and they propose it should be in bilingual (English/Chinese).

As much Asians feel there’s a glass ceiling hindering their way, they are also the ones contributing to this glass ceiling.  We stay within our community.  Keeping others outside so we can feel safe and comfortable is this little bubble we created.   FOB stands for “Fresh off the Boat” is a term created by Asian- Americans to make fun of other Asian who have recently immigrated to the US.  They may have stronger accents or their behavior is very Asian.  When we think other people are social categorizing us we are social categorizing other ethnic groups and sometimes even social categorizing ourselves.

Fortunately, I am happy to say that many second generations such as me are stepping out of this bubble.  Allport’s “contact hypothesis” states that “equal status contact between majority and minority groups in the pursuit of common goals” and “sanctioned by institutional supports” should reduce intergroup tensions and promote perceptions of common interests and common humanity. (2012) Second generations are working towards this direction as they are more active in presenting themselves in the involvement of different activities with different majority and minority groups.  This helps everyone to see the functionality in diversity as every person can bring different strengths and talents.  In a way, we are all FOB in some ways, it is important for us to open our hearts and accept ourselves and all the wonderful differences that people has to offer.


Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied social psychology:
Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 16

Assimilation Destroys the Out-Group

What are some of the impediments of out-group and in-group assimilation? Is it obstruction from within the out-group or is it from the larger dominate group? The in-group members can hinder the out-group based on the idea that the out-group has a preponderance of undesirable characteristics. Surprisingly, a common factor is out-group members trying to assimilate undermining their own standing within both groups. Optimal distinctiveness theory states that in-group distinctiveness must be equalized by assimilation, which is an independent yet opposing motive for group identification (Brewer, 1991, 1999, 2003). By trying to assimilate into the dominate in-group the out-group self cannibalizes. They subvert their own character to ingratiate themselves in an attempt to be accepted.
For acceptance, out-group members confirm negative traits of their group members. This affirms negative stereotypes held by members of the dominate in-group. This also alienates the out-group members from their own group. There are constant examples of out-group members, as part of assimilation, undercutting members of their own group. According to Tajfel and Turner (1986), this group membership alone is enough to induce favoritism (or positive bias) towards the in-group at the expense of the out-group. This sense of in-group favoritism was coined “positive distinctiveness” (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and argued to lead to increased self-esteem. The out-group members are rewarded with acceptance into a small circle of the majority group. Once he or she steps outside of their confines of that circle, they are simply an out group member again and required to constantly reiterate their alter-identity and position with the in-group further damaging the out-group.
“The American exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, the United States as a beacon, and the American Dream, are powerful stories through which current and past events are framed. From the viewpoint of subordinate groups, America’s legitimizing myths are debilitating, and create a situation where both dominants and subordinates act in concert to maintain majority domination over institutions, wealth, income, and items of positive social value” (Rock 2011).
Individuals in the subordinate group can achieve success without self-immolation however; there are often consequences for subordinates that access resources of positive social value. There is a simple answer but complicated process. Out-group minorities should invest in capitalistic ventures that collectively build their group profile, thereby increasing their social status in America. The out-group should capitalize on the 1.1 trillion dollars of buying power in the country. Let’s face it, in American status and finance are interlinked.

Brewer, M.B. (1991). “The social self: On being the same and different at the same time”. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 475-482
Brewer, M.B. (1999). “The psychology of prejudice: Ingroup love or outgroup hate?” Journal of Social Issues, 55, 429-444.
Brewer, M.B. (2003). “Optimal Distinctiveness, Social Identity, and the Self”. In M. Leary and J. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of Self and Identity. (pp 480–491).
Tajfel, H. & Turner, J.C. (1986). “The social identity theory of intergroup behavior”. In S. Worchel & W.G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Rock RJ. “Social Dominance Theory: The U.S. Minority Experience” www.journey24pointoh.com (September 2011) http://journey24pointoh.com/2011/09/04/social-dominance-theory-the-u-s-minority-experience/

Feb 16

Reverse Discrimination or Something Else?

Reverse discrimination, as defined by Merriam- Webster  is the practice of making it more difficult for a certain type of person (such as a white man) to get a job, to go to a school, etc., because other people who were treated unfairly in the past are now being given an advantage.

We hear about it online in social groups, through the media or talked about it amongst peers or in the classroom setting. How many of us have actually seen it in first hand, been a victim of it or participated in it? How do we define it? And, is it really real? The hierarchy of the United States has historically benefited whites and in a lot of ways, that has never changed. But as a Hispanic minority, I know that discrimination extends beyond the borders of white vs. black. As a female and a minority, I have experienced racism and discrimination. But I have experienced it from other minorities. Groups that I thought should and would feel my pain. This is where it has become confusing for many.

Because cultural diversity is now a part of all of our lives and places that were not as culturally diverse before are now increasingly diverse, one would think that the barriers we have faced for a long time would begin to crumble. Now, it seems that new barriers are forming as new ethnic groups begin to perceive their group as higher than another or seeking retribution against another group. Schneider et al., states that in North America modern forms of racism are often difficult to measure because most displays of bias or negative attitudes are subtler. It isn’t “socially acceptable”. However, what happens when one group feels they have been wronged and their internal feelings are displayed in a non-verbal way through, body language, facial expressions or tone. What about the white woman who chooses to date black men and the negative reaction she receives from members of the black race, or the Hispanic woman who is treated unfairly at the DMV by the black receptionist? Is this considered “reverse discrimination” or simply….discrimination? What are the criteria?

Many will argue that discrimination from one minority group to another minority group does not exist. Discrimination is defined as the behavior directed at others on the basis of category membership (Schneider et al., 2012). And perhaps while some of what I experience as a minority is prejudice, it certainly can feel like discrimination.   When I am treated differently in a public establishment, not allowed to do the things that other minorities of a different race/ ethnicity are being allowed to do or talked to in a way that is very different from others in this establishment, to me, this is discrimination. Here is a race that has been at a historical disadvantage and in some cases, holds a certain negative attitude towards the white race because of this but because I look like I am part of the white race, although my name says otherwise, I am treated differently. I am a Hispanic female with two bi-racial children- African American and Hispanic. Clearly, there is an internal conflict of “I am not sure what you are, but you look like someone that has done me wrong.”

So how do we overcome?

Utilizing the contact theory to overcome this type of discrimination can be useful but it is necessary during this process to tease out the negative associations from the positive associations with one group.  We must try to understand where the negative thoughts and feelings come from. Allport (1954) argued that if people with different group characteristics could get to know each other and work together, prejudice, stereotypes and the impulse to discriminate would decrease dramatically. However, there are certain criteria to meet in order to be successful- equal status contact, common goals and support by relevant institutions. Let’s use the very small example of the DMV. In this case, every person that walks through the door has a common goal- to take care of something related to his or her driver’s license. The government can support the agency’s diversity by requiring training of employees on diversity. The agency can also require that each receptionist ask a few preliminary questions of those in the agency seeking help- this opens the door for conversation and the potential for one group or individual to identify similarities between the group or individuals. By allowing those employees of the agency to hold on to their perception of races outside their own, the barriers are perpetuated by those meant to help tear them down.

Racism, discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes will forever exist in our society. What we need to be better at is extending this across all groups in a two-way manner so we can break down the barriers that exist as a result of historical knowledge. We cannot overcome the terrible acts of racism on blacks if we allow the same acts to go that we are trying to eliminate between two different groups of minorities.

(n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hierarchy

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: Sage.

Penn State- Lesson 6. Intergroup relations/ diversity. Psych 424.

Feb 16

The Old Guard and the New

The trick to understanding the relationships between groups in an isolated paradigm is to understand the psychological makeup of each one. There are the obvious answers, and then the answers that are less so. Blacks and whites will, I am fairly certain, dominate a good portion of the answers to the diversity conversation questions on a regular basis, since the modern world can’t seem to distinguish the “d” word and racial tension from one another anymore.

Today, I’m going to write about something that must be addressed in our troubled times; how the inter-group contact hypothesis affects two diverse groups that often come from very different backgrounds, and both generally suffer as a result. There is tension between these groups; In passing, it is rare for any greeting or other general olive branch to be extended, and when it is, it’s terse, typically when waiting in a line, or waiting on a bench. When these two groups clash over terrain, it can become brutal, often devolving to melee conflict, even now, in 2016.

Earlier today, at about 11:30 am MST, I was a victim of this dichotomy; I, a snowboarder, was shoved aside by a skier at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

For any readers chuckling, rolling their eyes, or looking longingly at the hyperlinks on the right, think again; skiiers and snowboarders have a rich history of tension and poor to non-existent co-habitation skills on the slopes. From the time the “Snurfer” was invented in the late 1960s (Snow Surfer, mashed together), a rift has continued to fluctuate in a continuous cycle of narrowing and spreading, nearly a half century later.

It’s valuable to note that despite being a sport of European origin, skiing (and its younger brother, snowboarding) has been enjoyed by people of all ethnic groups, genders, sexual persuasions, and ages. In fact, ski slopes are one of the most likely places on earth to find that commercial-perfect blend of all demographics at any given moment, all laughing and slicing through the powder together.

Yet take any skier on the hill, and drop him next to a snowboarder on a steep slope, and chances are high that a few notable things will happen. The two will likely not acknowledge or greet each other (outside certain scenarios), they will both assume that they have the right of way, and consequently ski or ride into each others’ preferred flight paths. Internally, there is a good chance they glower at the other (provided they are of the same gender) and think nasty thoughts about the other individual’s clothing or general unpleasantness, to be scoffed about later, with friends, over a cold ale at “apres.”

But then that’s where the magic is happening.

It began like the Civil Rights movement; large, loud, and blatantly in need of reform. Ski resorts across the United States banned snowboarders, first from using their lifts, then from even hiking up the mountain themselves. A snowboarder’s only recourse was to go into the back country to ski, where, though trendy today, they were forced to risk the elements and the danger of avalanches to enjoy their sport.

Eventually, intergroup contact hypothesis proved itself to be at least somewhat right; as skiers figured out that the boarders were not, in point of fact, all simple ruffians or fiends, and that their boards did not damage the snow conditions as had been previously thought, they began to relax on the topic. Really, the two groups came together, and learned that the other side wasn’t actually so bad.

One by one, the resorts lifted their restrictions on snowboarders being allowed to enjoy their facilities. Today, there are only three resorts left that still tell snowboarders that their “kind” aren’t served there- Alta Ski Resort, Deer Valley Resort, both in Salt Lake City, UT, and Mad River Glen, located in Vermont.

This is a tremendous victory in equal rights for those who choose to ride one plank instead of two. And this is not a satire piece. Imagine if we were having this conversation around motorcyclists pitched against car drivers. The level of controversy that would ensue were the government to tell bikers that they were unsafe for other drivers, and therefore were no longer allowed to ride on the freeway, would be astronomical. There would be cries of “nanny state,” and “martial law,” and generally speaking, it would be an outrage at most, head-scratcher at least. Yet no one but the boarders complained when the boarders were banned from the hills across the country. That we have changed that perception speaks volumes, and it is largely due to the inter-group contact hypothesis.

That all being explained, there remains a great deal of work to do. Every winter, I see skiers pushing snowboarders, snowboarders slugging skiers, and there seems to be very little that can be done. I wondered, as I read back through the course text on the lift to the top of Rendezvous Mountain this morning (it’s a long tram), if it’s acceptable to simply allow the slow burn of the group contact to continue its work; the truth is, whether on one plank or two, we all wear alien googles, bulbous helmets, and awkwardly bright clothing that we wouldn’t be caught dead wearing in any other context. We can only see that so much before we realize that our judgment would be just as withering if our own doppelganger rode by on the wrong slope apparatus. One can only spend so much time on the slopes before getting to know people that ski as well as they board, and vice versa, leading to a further blurring of the lines that have existed between the two sports for so very long.

Overall, I don’t know that it’s feasible to simply drag the rift on the resort’s slopes back together. It was forced apart a half century ago by two sides of a coin whose behavior and choices led us to the quiet, unacknowledged, still slightly uncomfortable silence we have on the subject today. Yet every time a skier rides the hill with a group of boarders, every time someone nods their head on the mountain to one of the other breed, we progress a little more. Eventually, we may get there, but we must let our groups intermingle, and see through contact that really, we’re all wearing the same color of orange snow pants on the inside, too.


Feb 16

His, Hers, Ours…Who Cares?


Society is becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that we all just might not be created equally.  We all have our differences.  Some of us are black, some of us are white, some are tall, and some are short.  Some of us may have even been born into the wrong body.  But should we all be treated equally?  This is where the lines seem to blur.

The lives of LGBTQ individuals are becoming more and more mainstream in the United States.  Alternative lifestyles are gaining acceptance more and more every day.  Our society is growing to accept the idea of gay marriage, albeit slower than it should be.  Caitlyn Jenner has introduced herself to the world, and is celebrated for her bravery.  These moments in history are all paving the way for younger individuals to realize their own personal journey, and to find the strength and courage to be who they truly are; to announce the truth of their identity.  They are receiving messages from all walks of life to stand up and be who they are, unapologetically.  So why do the freedoms stop at which bathroom they use?

Many editorials have surfaced as of late regarding the growing issue of transgendered elementary and high school students utilizing the designated bathroom for the gender that they identify with.  Some non-transgender students and their parents have voiced concern about the supposed impropriety of the situation, referring to the vulnerability of the students who suddenly find themselves sharing a semi-private space with a member of the opposite sex.  To address the issue, we can look at a district that has been successfully integrating transgender and typically developing students since 2004.  The Los Angeles Unified School District has been allowing students to utilize bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity, with minimal complaints, over the course of the past 12 years (Bosman & Rich, 2015).

According to Judy Chiasson, coordinator in the Human Relations, Diversity and Equity Department for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the current generation of students tend to be more modest, tend not to undress in public areas, and use the private stalls in bathrooms (Bosman & Rich, 2015).  She further explains that because of this modesty, most students don’t even know whether a fellow student is transgender (Bosman & Rich, 2015).

So why all the fuss?  Many of us continue to operate based on our stereotypes of various different groups.  Perhaps a way to address these prejudices would be in the form of conflict resolution to diminish the discrimination.  There seems to be a blanket acceptance in the Los Angeles school district, but how can we address the issue in more conservative regions of the country?

Schneider, Gruman and Coutts (2012) illustrate the concept of coalition building for breaking down barriers to increase contact as a means of decreasing conflict.  These coalition building exercises create opportunity for interaction between opposing groups, for learning about specific individuals belonging to the groups, and introduce cooperative tasks and reward systems for working together (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).  A well-known practice, typically referred to as the Ben Franklin effect (as it was originally coined by Benjamin Franklin), posits that an effective means of establishing a positive relationship with another is to get that person to do you a favor.  Creating these moments for relying on a person from the opposing group may prove to be the perfect opportunity for breaking down the stereotypes.  Given time, these opportunities may allow not only students, but everyone, to shed their prejudice and coexist in cooperation.


Bosman, J., & Rich, M. (2015, November 03). As Transgender Students Make Gains, Schools Hesitate at Bathrooms. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/as-transgender-students-make-gains-schools-hesitate-at-bathrooms.html?_r=0

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Feb 16

What was Once Wise, is Now Trash


There was once a time in America when children were raised to respect their elders. Elderly were seen as very wise individuals that deserved the uttermost respect. However, in today’s society respecting one’s elders has decreased dramatically. Children do not listen to what the elderly have to say. They disrespect them and abuse them financially, physically, and psychologically.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), majority of abuse towards elders were committed by family members. Most of the time the abuse came from adult children, spouses, partners, and others. The ones who were most likely to abuse either had an addiction problem, mental/emotional illness, or felt it was a burden to care for them (NCEA, 2016)

Abuse in nursing homes is also a factor in today’s society. One study was conducted in 2000 that involved interviewing 2,000 nursing home residents. They reported that 44% of the residents reported abuse. 95% of them also reported feeling neglected or have seen others being neglected (NCEA, 2016)

Those who experience abuse had a 300% higher risk of death compared to those who were not abused. There is an increase on psychological distress and lower perceived self-efficacy (NCEA, 2016) Abusing elders also results in additional health issues such as, bone and join problems, high blood pressure, heart problems, and depression or anxiety issues

Looking at the social dominance theory, it may explain the change of why the elderly are disrespected. This theory represents that all individuals belong to a group and that each group provides much needed resources for those within the group (Schneider, et al,. 2012) Therefore, people are always willing to protect the group. Social dominance also includes the presence of hierarchy. Those with in the group maintain their hierarchy by their behavior. The most common forms of these hierarchies are age, gender, and arbitrary set (Schneider, et al,. 2012).

Through these hierarchies, the older an individual is, the better. This reflects positive social value. This means that high status group members are motivated to maintain the hierarchy (Schneider, et al,. 2012) However, in this particular situation it does not seem to be the case. The elderly are unable to defend themselves. Many are disabled, unaware, or incapable. Their abilities to kept their high status is no longer existent. Therefore, the arbitrary set comes into play. This is created by beliefs about the world and how it should be operated (Schneider, et al,. 2012) This allows for change to occur. The youth once held a negative social value. This means that they are motivated to attempt to move up to the social hierarchy but had lack of resources and powers (Schneider, et al,. 2012). However, the youth has found a way to take over the elders hierarchy by being their care provider and controlling their finances. The elderly were once wise and admired but now they are pushed aside and disposed of like a piece of trash on the sidewalk.



National Center on Elder Abuse. (2016, January 20). Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/library/data/
Phillips, M. (2013, July 23). The elderly are driving the recovery. It’s time for generational jihadists to say ‘thanks’ [Digital image]. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.spectator.co.uk/2013/07/help-the-aged-2/
Schneider, F., Gruman, J., & Coutts, L. (2012). Foundations of Applied Social Psychology. In Applied Social Psychology (2nd ed.). SAGE.

Feb 16

Improving Sexist Attitudes Via the Contact Hypothesis

Of all the types of diversity, one that is arguably one of the most prevalent in American society is gender; specifically, sexism. Benevolent sexism is probably the sneakiest type, as it is often disguised as a compliment or some form of chivalry. In terms of the contact hypothesis, contact between men and women (in-group and out-group) would not currently meet the requirements for improving stereotyping on a large scale; the fact that women are still not seen as complete equals demonstrates just that (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Through a couple of examples, I will show how the contact hypothesis could possibly resolve conflict in terms of sexism, and suggest interventions in certain areas of life that may actually produce change.

Imagine a young college woman rushing out of a classroom. She is running downstairs to get across campus to her next class, which starts in ten minutes. As she is swiftly moving toward the exit to the building, a young man zooms ahead of her in order to open the door for her. As he is holding it open with a smile, the young woman stops in her tracks and says “Please don’t ever do that again.” The young man asks her why, as he was just trying to be nice. The girl responds to this with yet another question: “Well, would you have rushed ahead of me to open the door if I were a man?” The young man looked confused for a moment, then replied with, “Hmm…I see your point.” The woman says thank you, and walks outside to her class.

The above example, based on actual events, is a prime demonstration of benevolent sexism. The woman was more than capable of opening the door herself, which she was about to do before the young man opened it for her. Even though he was “just trying to be nice,” his actions implied that women need to be taken care of and catered to—the oldest form of sexism. If most of society inherently feels that women are not equal to men, how could having contact between the two groups (contact hypothesis) change society as a whole? Well, the aforementioned contact between one member from each group ended with more mutual understanding between the two; in this sense, the “perceived equality” between the two individuals seemed to resolve conflict (Schneider et al., 2012). However, this only applied on a microscopic scale. To have it apply on a larger scale, attitudes would need to be changed, possibly through social psychological interventions.

Unfortunately, negative attitudes within groups can perpetuate sexism as well; that is, women and men are both part of the problem. A study demonstrated that when women and men were both informed about, and encouraged to pay attention to, modern and benevolent sexism in their own lives, only the women’s attitudes changed (Becker & Swim, 2014). Men only developed negative attitudes toward sexism when they were encouraged to show emotional empathy toward women (Becker & Swim, 2014). It is possible this difference could be caused by the in-group, out-group mindset; women did not need to be encouraged to have empathy toward themselves, as they already feel that way about their own group (but they had no issue feeling hostility toward sexist men in the study). Similar interventions could be applied to important areas of life such as the workplace in order to encourage equal treatment of both genders, and achieve equality, shared goals and organizational support as outlined by the contact hypothesis (Schneider et al., 2012).

In typical workplaces such as offices or schools, women still fight against that glass ceiling (they can only climb so high in their jobs). An intervention to reduce sexism, and maybe even help equalize pay, could be done very cost-effectively via the internet. Both men and women could receive information about sexism via a website or emails. An experimental group could also attend workplace meetings about sexist attitudes, perhaps with videos demonstrating the harm that sexism does to society as a whole, not just individual women. If the group that receives both internet information and attends the meetings has more improved attitudes than the internet-only group, then such a combined plan could be applied to many workplaces. Over time, as sexism decreases, bigger changes such as equal pay could happen as a result. Participants in this plan could be monitored over time, and hopefully men and women would come to see themselves as part of one group working toward similar goals.

Unfortunately, it is human nature to not get along. There are in-groups and out-groups everywhere, and not just in terms of the gender barrier. As Schneider and Lesson 6 outline, there is a lot of understanding of why there is so much conflict among groups of people, but more still needs to be done in order to end it (2012). Regardless of whether we are men or women, and no matter how much we exclude members of the “out-group,” we are all still human beings.


Becker, J.C., & Swim, J.K. (2014). Seeing the unseen: Attention to daily encounters with sexism as way to reduce sexist beliefs. Psychology of Women Quarterly. 227-242.

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied social psychology:
Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 16

Diversity in a Culture of Distrust

Diversity, what does this word mean to you?  What does this word mean in a world where we tend to look the other way if we see things that create personal discomfort especially if it does not affect us.  Diversity particularly in the field of psychology as described by Schneider, Gruman, and Coutts (2012) required us to reach beyond the common definition of racial, ethnic, religious affiliation and look inward toward ourselves seeking to understand our level of acceptance in relation to diversity in that have we learned to accept differences or do we expect people to assimilate into our cultural norms?

Regardless of the answer to this genuine diversity is allocentric (Schneider pp. 326) in that the best for the group may not be assimilation but acceptance of diversity and embracing others as they are for who and what they are without expectations or ideals on behavior or roles to be assumed.  Socially we have come to accept cultural distrust of different religions, racial tensions raise high when there is an encounter between officers and the population of different ethnicities, everyone points fingers but no one seems interested in long term sustainable solutions.

Bias takes many forms and is not exclusive to white middle class males but spans broadly across the globe.  Individual ideas are shaped by what we are exposed to and our interpretations of potential risks, benefits, or motivations for our well being.  Individuals who tend to stray beyond our norm are labeled (intentionally or unintentionally) and we often avoid “those people” or do our best to ensure their conformity with our expectations of them, either way it is bias, racist, or sexist if we expect others to change for our benefit or comfort.

Building intergroup respect and relationships is key to avoiding the assimilation assumption and should be based on broadening the scope of social norms, community outreach and collaboration, and showing that mutual respect for “all” people can slowly change imbedded preconceptions about others.  Thus improving cultural diversity, social acceptance, and reducing stigma and bias.

Schneider, Frank W., Gruman, Jamie A., Coutts, Larry M. “Applied Social Psychology Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems”. Second Edition. 2012. Sage Publications.

Feb 16

Stop Police Brutality

Police Brutality

Lets be honest Police brutality has been a hot topic controversial topic for years, but it has been re-visited the most since the Trayvon Martin incident in 2012. Although, the Trayvon Martin case wasn’t quite caused by Police Brutality it was the domino effect that led individual’s to re-visit the idea of Police brutality, rights of individuals, laws, and the justice system. Police brutality is a sensitive controversial subject, but it is one that must be talked about. Police Brutality is the deliberate use of excessive force, usually physical, carried out during law enforcement activities with the population. Lately, it seems as though Police brutality is happening more often due to racism.

Statistics prove Police Brutality is occurring more than it should. According to Huffington Post, Between January 1st and May 31st, 2015 it is reported that 464 individuals were killed by police in a 5 month span. The average number of people killed every day in 2015 is three individuals. 102 individuals are considered unarmed. There were 16 children under the age of 18 that were shot to death by police. There were 92 mentally ill people shot by the police. These numbers don’t even justify the many lives that were lost to police brutality.

Lets get to the reasoning as to why some individuals believe Police Brutality occurs due to Racism. Racism is defined as the bias against an individual or a group of individuals based on the individuals race/ethnicity. According to the Black Lives Matter Movement police kill blacks at a rate disproportionate to there total percentage of the population. Blacks were fatally shot and killed at 3x the rate compared to Whites and other races. 32 percent of black people who were unarmed when killed by police. Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as White people.  62.7 percent of individuals that were killed by the police in 2015 were minorities. Lets go in slight detail of the cases that began the racial debate within police brutality.

Eric Garner

July 17th, 2014: Garner was killed after a New York police officer used a banned chokehold technique to restrain him, despite being unarmed. He was wrestled to the ground by several police officers after a complaint he was illegally selling loose cigarettes. In a video that went viral, the black 43-year-old said: “I can’t breathe” which was soon adopted by protesters after Daniel Pantaleo, the only officer that was investigated by a grand jury, was not charged.


August 9th, 2014: an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer. The disputed circumstances of the shooting of the unarmed man sparked existing tensions in the predominantly black city, and protests and civil unrest erupted.

These two controversial cases started a spiral of events that led to protests and marches to stop and bring awareness to Police Brutality. From these two cases it may be clear as to why individuals believe police officers act upon racism towards Black individuals. Statistics prove that Police Officers use excessive force when it comes to Black individuals.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_brutality#United_States
  2. Nick Wing – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/01/police-killings-numbers_n_7486476.html
  3. http://www.mintpressnews.com/776-people-killed-by-police-so-far-in-2015-161-of-them-unarmed/209127/
  4. Raziye Akkoc – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11446472/A-timeline-of-police-attacks-in-the-USA.html

Skip to toolbar