Oct 19

Is Social Identity Theory Applicable to Intergroup Relations within Collectivist Cultures?

A Personal Comparison Between Self and Group Identity within South Korea and the United States

By Jessica McKeon

                Within the realm of intergroup relations is a social psychology principle known as Social Identity Theory. In a nutshell, social identity theory states that we each have two identities. A “self” identity and a “social” identity. This social identity is how our self-identity definition fits or does not fit into an “ingroup” (Hymans, 2002). The key distinctions lie with how an individual identifies their sense of ‘self’ versus how they identify themselves in comparison or conjunction with a ‘group’. Within the United States, we witness the results of this ‘ingroup’ and ‘outgroup’ identification on a daily basis. Within politics, gender identification, marital status, even the way we look plays a factor in who we identify with or who identifies with us.  Is the way in which we identify to our subsequent in-groups a cultural phenomenon within Western individualist-cultures? Or is it also applicable within a more collectivist mindset?

A primary factor that comes into play is how individuals from each culture identify themselves. In a 1995 study, researchers administered a Twenty Statements Test to Euro-Americans living in New York and Korean participants living in Seoul, asking various questions about their self-identity (Rhee et al., 1995). Rhee et al. found that self-descriptions within Euro-American participants contained more autonomous descriptions and trait differences, while Korean self-descriptions were highly-distinctive (1995). What do these findings mean for the layperson interpreting them? It means that Americans will generally identify themselves based on individual values and traits while Koreans will adhere to societal values and trend towards conformity. How does all of this play into the social framework of Social Identity Theory?

Social Identity theory primarily focuses on intergroup comparison, or how ingroups and outgroups compare themselves to one another. Within individualistic cultures, this is the way we self-identify and interact socially (Yuki, 2003). Intragroup comparison, on the other hand, is what is practiced primarily in collectivist cultures. Placing priority on comparisons to those within their cultural ingroup for the sake of cooperation and mutual goals (Yuki, 2003).

Allow me to provide you with a different perspective, through my own experiences as an American living in South Korea. My family and I moved to South Korea during New Years, approximately two-and-a-half years ago.  One of the first things that became apparent after getting off the airplane is that South Korea has a lot of people with very little diversity. To help create a more specific image, the Korean Statistical Information Services states that the population of South Korea in 2015 was approximately 51,629,512 people (KOSIS, 2015). That’s a lot of people. Out of that number only 1,741,919 are foreigners. Let me put that into a percentage for you; 3.4% of the Korean population in 2015 consisted of non-Koreans (KOSIS, 2015). In comparison, the United States Census Bureau stated that in 2015, 76.5% of the U.S. population consisted of the primary ‘Caucasian’ racial in-group (United States Census Bureau, 2018). This number doesn’t even account for the non-American Caucasians. However, even with this lack of diversity and inability to physically fit in, when making an active effort to assimilate to a collectivist culture, the treatment of the out-group becomes significantly more accepting.

Ultimately, I believe that Social Identity Theory does not account for the social processing nuances within collectivist cultures. It is worthwhile to reassess what circumstances Social Identity Theory hold true under, and if the theory is culturally biased.



Hymans, J. E. C. (2002, March). Applying Social Identity Theory to the Study of International Politics: A Caution and an Agenda . Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacques_Hymans/publication/228956532_Applying_Social_Identity_Theory_to_the_Study_of_International_Politics_A_Caution_and_an_Agenda/links/0a85e535d9708ef4d1000000.pdf.

Korean Statistical Information Service. (2019, August 29). Statistical Database. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://kosis.kr/eng/statisticsList/statisticsListIndex.do?menuId=M_01_01&vwcd=MT_ETITLE&parmTabId=M_01_01&statId=1962001&themaId=#SelectStatsBoxDiv.

Rhee, E., Uleman, J. S., Lee, H. K., & Roman, R. J. (1995). Spontaneous self-descriptions and ethnic identities in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology69(1), 142–152. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.69.1.142

U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218.

Yuki, M. (2003). Intergroup Comparison Versus Intragroup Relationships: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Social Identity Theory in North American and East Asian Cultural Contexts. Social Psychology Quarterly66, 166–183. Retrieved from https://lynx.let.hokudai.ac.jp/~myuki/paper/Yuki_2003_SPQ.pdf

Sep 18

Are you from Africa?

Are you from Africa?

Imagine moving to a new a country where one of the first questions you get asked when you meet new people is Are you from Africa? To some this may not seem like a big deal, they want to know where you come from they’ve already marked you as something foreign before you’ve even opened your mouth, but why than could they not have simply asked, “Where are you from?”. But it is a big deal, because it usually proceeds actions like  Touching my hair without permission, or the weird looks I get when Germans try to speak a French to me (because it will make communicating with me easier), and I tell them their only options are English and German. And are also proceeded by statements, “Oh your English is so good.” Or “You must be from Ethiopia.” They are always so sure that they know where I originate from when because of Slavery and Colonialism I have no idea where my familial roots come from. It all eventually shapes itself into one of two stereotypes maybe both, I am either an oversexed African refugee woman who will do ANYTHING for money with old men or I am an oversexed African woman using a German only for their money and ability to stay in Germany.

And yet as soon as I say I am African-American, all that goes away (Except the part where I am clearly oversexed or maybe they think it’s undersexed, hard to conclude), and I feel as if my cultural identity is then taken away. I am only referred to I am only referred to as American, my roots are stripped away as if I cannot be someone with African roots and American. I am given a “white card” meaning I’m treated to smiling faces and suddenly a lack of suspicion, I now have a valid reason for being in Germany. My marriage to a German has more meaning, more importance, because it must be love now not money. I get to be apart of the in-group and not regulated to the out-group. Suddenly my residence card is ready in three months along with my work permit before I met all the language requirements, meanwhile I know others still waiting having entered the country over a year earlier than me. Until I leave the current representatives of the in-group and I must ask for my “white card” back from the next set of people belonging to the in-group.

Discrimination and Prejudice are everywhere and it takes many forms. It may not always be actions like suddenly your neighbors are disrespecting your spouse after two years of good relations. Sometimes it’s simply words that make you feel like an other or that you have no right to be there. Sometimes it feels like others have made decisions for you about who you are. And other times it’s being fast tracked for no reason in that for your nationality that makes you one of the good “Africans” and having to prove your worth to every new person. Being looked at a certain way that makes you doubt your own good intentions, your intelligence, or your cleanliness.


Nelson, A. (2018). Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity . Retrieved September 29, 2018, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1942493/modules/items/25002507

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.A. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Sep 18

Diversity Coming To A City Near You

I like to think we live in an era where people are more open to new cultures and beliefs. In reality there are many areas in the US that lack diversity. It is the year 2018 we are living in a modern era, but individuals are still being discriminated. It bewilders me how people are still being classified as being part of the minority or majority group. This classification to me is useless and should not be eliminated.

Diversity is an on-going issue in the US this includes the workforce and communities. Many areas that lack diversity the struggle with discrimination and equality as well. In Cumberland County located in Southwest Pennsylvania there are many college towns and surprisingly 85% of the population is white. (Despite a lack of racial diversity, there are still issues of integration in America’s College Towns) It is said that the area is very conservative and have strong religious views. This brings to question are these factors related to other areas in the US that lack diversity?

There is some interesting data stating that “by 2055 the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority.” (Cohn, D., & Caumont, A.2016 March 31) The US is growing, and more people are interacting despite their origin. What is happening is that the millennial’s are becoming the new adult generation. The millennial’s are 43% nonwhite and are the most divers generation in Americas history. It seems the old way of thinking is going away, and this will create better opportunities for everyone.

Studies show that 55% of Americans are “comfortable” with the US becoming more divers. (Diversity, Culture Remain Major Fault Lines in American Politics) America is a nation of immigrants there is not one race makes the Country. It is the combination of many ethnic backgrounds that make America great, we need to forget about what group we fall under. The classification of minority and majority is becoming a thing of the past. Whether you agree or not change is coming.

Cohn, D., & Caumont, A. (2016, March 31). 10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S. and the world. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/31/10-demographic-trends-that-are-shaping-the-u-s-and-the-world/

Despite a lack of racial diversity, there are still issues of integration in America’s College Towns. (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-03/despite-lack-racial-diversity-there-are-still-issues-integration-america-s

Diversity, Culture Remain Major Fault Lines in American Politics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/diversity-culture-remain-major-fault-lines-american-politics-n799101


Oct 16

(Intergroup Relations/Diversity) Do All Lives Matter?…

…and why are so many hell-bent on saying that they do?

As I start writing this blog, I cannot ignore the anxiety and hesitancy I am feeling by doing so. I am worried of offending and I am worried that I could come off as someone who is conveying that they understand, when in all reality, there is no way for me to even begin to understand. I am worried that who I am will devalue the message I am trying to present and I am worried that my own ignorance on these matters will cause even more hurt when so much pain has been inflicted for far too long. I am most worried my words will not adequately convey what is in my heart. So who am I? I am a white woman. I am the product of an upper middle-class family. I was raised in a small city where people of color account for 6.1% of the population (United States Census Bureau, 2010). I am someone who was raised to believe that “all men (AND WOMEN) are created equal” and because of that, racism really did not exist, at least not on a large scale. I am someone who knows nothing of what a person of color faces on a day-to-day basis, but I do know one thing, and that one thing is that this is an uncomfortable subject and it is a subject that NEEDS to be talked about.

When the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement came to national attention, I was one of the first to say “all lives matter.” I cannot express how incredibly fortunate I am to have a dear friend who is not easily offended by my ignorance. I am fortunate to have a friend who was able to gently explain to me that, in the reality we live in and as unfortunate as it is, the truth of the matter is that all lives do not matter, and that is what BLM is addressing and trying to change. I am so thankful for my friend who is willing to make herself vulnerable in order to share her experiences with me so that I can crawl out of my own bubble and face the hard truth of racism and discrimination that I simply have just not wanted to recognize.

My parents ingrained in me the notion that we are all to be colorblind. I respect their intentions in doing this, but I am finally starting to understand how that mentality has contributed to the belittling of the individuals who are facing and suffering from the harsh reality of racism. When I look at it now through a different perspective, I realize that by carrying this attitude, I have been demonstrating ambivalent racism. I held the attitude that although minorities could be treated unfairly, the burden of responsibility was placed on their shoulders to “pick themselves up by the bootstraps,” and if they did, well then, they would be able to get ahead and succeed in life (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). For a long time, this soothed my conscience any time I would see the injustices and the suffering in communities that were made up of people who did not look like me.

I could be worse, right? I have been around people who demonstrate blatant racism. I have been around the people who have shouted racial slurs and have made it no secret that they thought themselves better and more deserving just because they were white (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). And for heaven’s sake, it’s not even like I was demonstrating aversive racism, right? I have family members swear up and down that they are anything but racist; they know that being racist is not a good thing, so they adamantly deny their racism, but once they are done denying that they are prejudiced, the hateful and condescending words come spewing from their mouths (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Wait, wait, I can’t REALLY be THAT bad can I? I’m not even a symbolic racist! I don’t have to preface my thoughts and ideologies with the phrase that “I have nothing against people of color . . ..” I don’t condemn programs that were created to give the disenfranchised equal access to rights and privileges like the symbolic racist does (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). No, I am just demonstrating the qualities of an ambivalent racist and that’s the least racist one!


I, Emily, the ambivalent racist.

I, Emily, the racist.

I am a racist.



No longer may I take advantage of the privilege of trying to soothe my own conscience. So, what now? The only thing that I can come up with is it is no longer acceptable to stay silent. The only thing that I can come up with is that if I want to break free of my own racism and my own shame, I have to speak out and against the racism that is running rampant in our society, and to accept my own responsibility in its existence. I present this writing with little to no solution in regards to the stain on my own character and the stain on the character of society; I only write so that maybe a conversation can be started and with the hope that one day, a solution can found so that wounds may begin to heal.

So no, all lives do not matter. And, until that day, the day when black lives, and brown lives, and LGBTQ+ lives, and indigenous lives, and the lives of all those oppressed REALLY DO MATTER, I will stand, and I will fight, and I will no longer be silent.

**End note: I have attached a video that I encourage you, the reader, to watch. It’s about a half an hour long, so if you have some time, I highly recommend it. Two friends of mine that I grew up with held an event in response to the recent series of shootings of black individuals by law enforcement officials. Its purpose was to bring together a diverse audience and to have an open and candid conversation. The conversation was uncomfortable at times, some comments were prickly, but it was a safe atmosphere that  has hopefully set in motion the change that many of us want to see.**

(Cichocki, 2016)



Cichocki, C. (Director). (2016). The Grand Exchange: Understanding the Black and White [Internet Documentary].

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC: SAGE Publications, Inc.

United States Census Bureau. (2010). Community Facts. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from American Fact Finder: http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF

Oct 16

Cultural differences and Diversity

This subject is very broad because it discusses diversity, and diversity is actually present everywhere we go. United States is a big example of diversity as we can encounter a huge mixture of race, languages and habits all in one country. Or at least, this is what everybody believes, that the diversity here is a positive visible factor of growth and the United States is formed by a great part of influence from other countries and cultures (Schneider, Grumman, & Coutts, 2012, p. 325). It is also known for all of us that this country is considered an individualistic society where most social experiences are focused around the individual and not around the collective group (Pfundmair, Graupmann, Frey, & Nilüfer, 2015). That being said, is United States really diverse? How much cultural influence is really absorbed by this nation?

Interestingly, many people believe that the influence is actually strong. However, when we approach actual different ethnic and social groups the scenario seems to be a little different. The percentage of interracial and intercultural marriages compared to the actual size of immigration slots is definitely small. Also, the interaction between minority and majority groups and the intergroup contact is definitely limited due to personal and social identity (Bikmen, 2011). Researchers are very interested in understanding how the cultures merge. Tili at al. (2015) have found that conflict in intimate, intercultural relationships is very common due to personal identity. Of course cultural differences are not exclusively the byproduct of culture; however, many people who decided to engage in intercultural marriages face unique challenges trying to adapt to the social context together. The same is applied to interracial marriages and social contact in the multicultural space (Tili, & Barker, 2015). The challenges are often related to diverse values, perspectives, and communication styles.

I personally have been in contact with people from multiple cultures, and it is very clear to me that the merging process can be complicated and frustration can easily arise because of the cultural differences. My own experience also says a lot, as I am a product of both interracial and intercultural marriage. It takes many years to finally be able to understand and cope with the other culture because the cultural values are definitely very different. The diversity conflict is everywhere in my life, from food consumption to social perception. At first it is a struggle to really accept those differences, but with a lot of comprehension, love and a compromising style (Schneider et al., 2012) the process gets smoother with time. The list of cultural shock and conflicts is actually endless, and it takes a lot of determination to get through it. I know for fact that my friends from other cultures, even Europeans, go through the same process and it is a relief to understand that the American diversity is in fact complicated not only for me but for most immigrants or descendants.

One good aspect of the diversity existent in the United States is that it generates social opportunities for everybody no matter the gender, race or social class because functional diversity is supposed to enhance group effectiveness and creativity (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 336). However, there are many other challenges that seems to overcome the good aspects such as prejudice and discrimination that exist and is very often reported (Huang, 1997). The most negative effect in social interactions between groups is perceived by ‘stereotyping’, the belief some people create about others’ behaviors or characteristics can really affect diversity and cultural interactions because those preconceived concepts create bias. This is a real threat to the cultural merging process and may explain why we live under a  social conflict that I call pseudo-diversity (Schneider et al., 2012, pp. 337-338). The stereotyping habit causes social conflict in marriages, schools or colleges, and at the work place.

Due to this scenario, I believe that the contact theory does not have enough effectiveness because cultures from all the world interact between themselves in the United States, although there is still a lot of biases and stereotyping behavior on the social environment. Of course other factors such as personal and social identity (WC, Psych 424, lesson 6) play a role in this scenario, but overall, what we expect is the existence of a cultural unity since the exposure to diversity occurs all the time. Instead, what I perceive all the time is a social dominance orientation among social groups, they develop their own group-based hierarchies’ system and seclude themselves from cultural influences from out-group members (WC, Psych 424, lesson 6). Seems to me that this kind of behavior make themselves feel more comfortable about their group compared to others.

Those intergroup relationships reflect the pseudo-diversity I believe exist in this country, as it is very clear that social interactions processes do not occur naturally for most of the groups. All interactions including cultural, educational, professional and personal are at risk of been biased and can be avoidant of contact with out-groups. It is a sad scenario, but it happens every day and the so believed diversity in this country is actually threatened by stereotype threat (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 338).


Ahrens, L. (2013, Feb. 26). “The Great American Melting Pot video.” Schoolhouse Rock. Music & lyrics by Lynn Ahrens; vocals by Lori Lieberman. ABC-TV, 1977 educational series. New York; United States. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/5ZQl6XBo64M

Bikmen, N. (2011). Asymmetrical effects of contact between minority groups: Asian and black students in a small college. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(2), 186-194. Retrieved from http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/868623879?accountid=13158

Foner, N. (2009). The American melting pot is a rich stew: Immigrants become attached to their new country, despite fears to the contrary. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 89(2), 7.

Huang, F. (1997). Asian and Hispanic immigrant women in the work force: Implications of the united states immigration policies since 1965. New York: Garland Publishing.

Penn State University, World Campus (Fall, 2016). Psych 424: Lesson 6. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1802487/discussion_topics/11378499?module_item_id=21233957

Pfundmair, M., Graupmann, V., Frey, D., & Aydin, N. (2015). The different behavioral intentions of collectivists and individualists in response to social exclusion. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(3), 363-378. doi:10.1177/0146167214566186 Retrieved from: http://psp.sagepub.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/content/41/3/363

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

Tili, T. R., & Barker, G. G. (2015). Communication in intercultural marriages: Managing cultural differences and conflicts. Southern Communication Journal, 80(3), 189. doi:10.1080/1041794X.2015.1023826

Sep 16

The Jigsaw Classroom

One of the greatest advancements in teaching and most successful examples of applied social psychology originated in the 1970s with Elliot Aronson’s jigsaw classroom. Aronson’s intervention applied Gordon Allport’s (1954/1979) contact hypothesis, which posited that placing groups in a situation in which they must work together toward a common goal given a supportive environment and equivalent status and power, to the classroom. Yet all great ideas must start somewhere, and for Aronson, his began with a phone call.

By 1971, Aronson had become head of the University of Texas’ social psychology department, and a former student of his reached out to discuss something the professor had taught him years ago (Aronson, 2001). The student, who himself was now an assistant superintendent in the Austin school district, was encountering fights and riots between the black, white, and Hispanic students after desegregation (Aronson, 2001; Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2013). In response, Aronson (2001), with the help of some of his graduate students, developed an intervention inspired by Allport’s (1954/1979) contact hypothesis and Muzafer Sherif and colleague’s (1961) Robbers Cave Experiment (Aronson & Bridgeman, 1979; as cited in Kwantes, Bergeron, & Kaushal, 2012). This intervention would come to be known as the jigsaw classroom.

Jigsaw Classroom

(Jigsaw Classroom, 2016)

Students in a jigsaw classroom may not seem to be all that different on the surface. Like many classrooms, jigsaw students learn together in small groups of four to seven students (Blaney et al., 1977), although six is now a common figure (Aronson et al., 2013). Members are assigned to the group to represent a diverse mix of backgrounds, but what is truly different is that instead of learning from a teacher, jigsaw students learn from each other:  Each member is assigned the responsibility of learning one particular part of the lesson and teaching this part to the others (Blaney et al., 1977; Aronson & Bridgeman, 1979; Aronson et al., 2013). The students, then, are interdependent on each other to reach a common goal, and since each would not know the same information as the others did, their status was made equivalent, just like Allport’s (1954/1979) contact hypothesis would necessitate. In as little as one hour a day (Aronson, 2001), the jigsaw intervention can have wide-reaching implications within and outside the classroom.

These implications have been found and replicated many times over the years since Aronson’s first intervention. Within the group, students actually start to listen to, respect, and like one another (Blaney et al., 1977; Aronson et al., 2013). But the effects of the jigsaw classroom go far beyond intragroup relations. In addition to liking and respect their fellow group members more, students in jigsaw classrooms also show a remarkable decrease in prejudice and stereotyping, perform better on standardized tests, say they like school more, and have higher self-esteem than students in comparison to students in traditional classrooms (Blaney et al., 1977; Aronson et al., 2013). Minority students, in particular, tend to flourish after the jigsaw intervention (Blaney et al., 1977). This may be related to the negative stereotypes with which students from racial and ethnic minorities are often publicly regarded.

Given the remarkable effects of the jigsaw intervention, it is no surprise it is widely implemented. Aronson (2001) estimates that 15 to 18 percent of all schools in America have used his jigsaw classroom intervention, but it might be safe to say he may feel this remarkable number is still insufficient. To Aronson (2001), the “cliquish atmosphere of rejection and humiliation” found in schools makes “30 percent to 40 percent” of students “very, very unhappy,” creating a climate that potentially leads to conflicts ranging from teasing and bullying to suicide and acts of violence. His jigsaw classroom, however, may be one solution to all of these problems. Aronson (2001) thinks his intervention can be used to break down cliques of every kind, from nerds to jocks and from social class to popularity, and “There’s no bigger, stronger clique than race. And we overcame that.” Bold as these claims may be, there is some evidence to back them up.

Remarkable as the aforementioned short-term effects of the jigsaw classroom intervention are, their long-term results may suggest real and lasting behavioral and attitudinal change. Six weeks after a jigsaw classroom intervention, students playing at recess were far more racially mixed than were students at schools without the intervention (Aronson, 2001). Even five or ten years later, Aronson (2001) still receives letters from students and teachers describing lasting effects on empathy and self-esteem. In fact, one notable letter came from one of the students in Aronson’s first jigsaw class.

While a junior at the University of Texas–the same school at which Aronson developed the jigsaw classroom intervention–a man recognized himself, referred to by the pseudonym “Carlos,” in Aronson’s book The Social Animal and wrote to him about the difference the jigsaw experience made in his life. Under that pseudonym, Carlos (1982) wrote that when Aronson came into his 5th grade classroom, “I hated school” and felt “I was so stupid and didn’t know anything,” but “when we started to do work in jigsaw groups, I began to realize that I wan’t really that stupid.” The children he felt were bullies became his friends, “the teacher acted friendly and nice to me and I actually began to love school” so much that, at the time of his letter, he was about to go on to Harvard Law School. To Carlos (1982), Aronson and his jigsaw classroom saved his life. Who knows how many of the thousands of other children exposed to jigsaw interventions might feel the same?



Allport, G.W. (1979). The nature of prejudice (Rev. ed.). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. Original work published (1954).

Aronson, E. (2001, March 27). A conversation with Elliot Aronson / Interviewer:  Susan Gilbert [Published interview]. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/27/health/a-conversation-with-elliot-aronson-no-one-left-to-hate-averting-columbines.html

Aronson, E., & Bridgeman, D. (1979). Jigsaw groups and the desegregated classroom:  In pursuit of common goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5(4), 438-446. doi:10.1177/014616727900500405

Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., & Akert, R.M. (2013). Social Psychology (8th Ed.) Boston, MA:  Pearson.

Blaney, N.T., Stephan, C., Rosenfield, D., Aronson, E., & Sikes, ,J. (1977). Interdependence in the classroom:  A field study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 69(2), 121-128. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.69.2.121

Carlos. (1982). A letter from Carlos. Rpt. by Jigsaw Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.jigsaw.org/history/carlos.html

Jigsaw Classroom. (2016). Logo [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.jigsaw.org/

Kwantes, C.T., Bergeron, S., & Kaushal, R. (2012). Chapter 14:  Applying social psychology to diversity. In F.W. Schneider, J.A. Gruman, & L.M. Coutts (Eds.) Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing
social and practical problems (2nd ed.) (323-347). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.


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

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