Module 2 Notes
Module 2 Notes ANP200
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by NotetakerS on Wednesday December 16, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANP200 at Michigan State University taught by A. Quan in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Navigating Another Culture in General Science at Michigan State University.
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Date Created: 12/16/15
odue2 Basics about Stereotypes Definition 0 For purposes ofthis course the word quotstereotypesquot is used to refer to oversimplified ideas or images about another group of people 0 Below are a few dictionary definitions of quotstereotypequot that emphasize what you justread o A conventional formulaic and oversimplified conception opinion or image 0 A generalization usually exaggerated or oversimplified and often offensive that is used to describe or distinguish a group 0 OVERSIMPLIFIED CONCEPTION an oversimplified standardized image of idea held by one person or group ofanother o A preconceived belief that is applied to all members ofa specific group Stereotypes can be either positive or negative 0 A stereotype can be positive or negative from the viewpoint of the observer and the object ofthe stereotype but in either case the stereotype may lead to inaccurate perceptions or inappropriate behavior and interactions 0 A positive stereotype is a characteristic presumably shared by all members of a group which is respected by the observer 0 A negative stereotype would be a characteristic attributed to all members ofthe group that is disrespected by the observer Stereotypes are often inaccurate Stereotypes ascribe a certain trait to every member of a group when not every member shares that trait 0 Example all tall people like to play basketball Stereotypes focus on one or a few selected traits and associate them with a large group of people that is diverse and complex a nation an ethnic group a religion 0 Example Japanese people are polite Stereotypes are often not based on first hand experience but rather on hearsay mass media images etc and if based on experience are often based on very limited experiences and on a very selective reading of that experience A EV WMHIAO anl Alnrn in n lnll I nnI IIIAA V39n U LACIIIIlJIC IUU VVCIC IUIJIJCU III IVICAILU DU YUU LUIILIUUC LIICIL IVICAILCIIID CIIC violent or thieves We may be wired to have stereotypes Besides the social sources of stereotypes discussed previously psychological research indicates humans are naturally prone to create stereotypes There are many difference sources of stereotypes Mass media and the patterned interactions between groups of people are two majorsources of stereotypes 0 Globalization is leading to increased interactions between cultural groups and to more widespread media flows worldwide both ofwhich may increase cultural understandings but in other cases leads to new stereotypes Patterned interactions between groups of people 0 Some stereotypes change over time as relations between different groups of people change 0 Mass media 0 The media is a powerful source of stereotypes Views that we have of other cultural groups and that others have of us are often shaped by movies advertisements and television programs Movies also contain numerous stereotypes about other cultures 0 Media stereotypes often reflect patterned relationships between groups of people in a society Stereotypes can be either inductive or deductive Inductive stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations based on our observations of members of a particular group 0 Because ofthe possibility of inductive stereotypes increased contact between two culturally different groups will not necessarily result in a lessening of stereotypes each group holds of the other Add to this the possibility that relations between members of both groups are shaped by larger social patterns for example maybe it s a workbusiness relationship in which members of both groups do not get a full picture of the other member s personal life thus inductive stereotypes are based on direct experiences ofthat person s behavior in a restricted setting Deductive stereotypes are based on preexisting assumptions about a particular group 0 Preexisting notions may distort how we perceive people an observer is often predisposed to look forand pay special attention to the stereotypical traits or behaviors in the person they are interacting with Another phrase describing the flawed thinking that deductive stereotypes involves is the ecological inference fallacy 39 An ecological fallacy often called an ecological inference fallacy is an error in the interpretation of statistical data in an ecological study whereby inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which thoseindividuals belong 39 This fallacy assumes that individual members of a group have the average characteristics ofthe group at large Stereotypes are one form of ecological fallacy which assumes that groups are homogeneous 39 For example if a particular group of people are measured to have a lower average IQ than the general population it is an error to assume that all members of that group have a lower IQ than the general population For any given individual from that group there is no way to know if that person has a lower than average IQ average IQ or above average IQ compared to the general population Stereotypes can lead to inappropriate or maladaptive behaviors Stereotypes prevent usfrom accurately understanding individuals from different societies and the complexity of different cultures Prejudices are quotjudgments based on stereotypical image Psychologist Gordon Allport defined prejudice as quotan attitude in a closed mind In a closed mind an attitude is cut off from new information At its least dangerous level prejudice is a filter that keeps one person from seeing beyond a stereotypical imagequot 0 Predilection simply means that someone prefers one culture one skin color or one language as opposed to another If you like Mexican culture and I do not there is no use arguing about taste We may disagree on such matters but as a rule we respect one another s choice Predilections are natural But they are the first step toward scapegoating if they turn into more active biases that is to say into PrejudiceA prejudice is an attitude in a closed mind quotDon t bother me with facts I ve already made up my mind Some Europeans may think that all Americans are loudmouthed spendthrifts This stereotyped view is hard to change It is a prejudice An Oxford student is said to have remarked quotI despise all Americans but I ve never met one I didn t like This anecdote suggests that prejudgments may stand even when available evidence is against them Some people with prejudices may thinkthat blacks have rhythm that Scotsmen are thrifty or that a woman s place is in the home Prejudice if kept to oneself causes no great harm except to the mind that pos sesses it But prejudice expressed leads to Discrimination That means leaving somebody out because of prejudiced thinking Generally it is based not on an individual s intrinsic qualities but on a quotla bel branding the individual as a member ofa group to be looked down upon It means separating a groupforcibly and unjustlyfrom our neighborhoods ourschools our churches our labor unions and our professions Scapegoating is hostile behavior by word or deed The victim usually cannot fight back for scapegoats are usually members ofvulnerable minority groups Editor s note quotMinorityquot does not refer only to race or ethnicity The essential cowardice of scapegoating is illustrated by the persecution of the Salem quotwitchesquot a small frail handful of people who could not fight back Stereotypes may lead to a false sense of understanding of the other person or they may offend a person when we base our interactions on that stereotype Relying on stereotypes about groups or individuals may lead you into negative interactions with others or into inaccurate interpretations of others behaviors and motives However to function effectively in a cultural setting we are not familiar with we need some generalizations Stereotvpes in CrossCulturalSituations Crosscultural stereotypes Stereotypes can be based on many types ofgroup attributes such as gender regional origin profession hobby etc 0 These cross cultural stereotypes are prevalent due to among other things 0 Increased availability of mass media images of other cultures which provide deductive stereotypes orform the basis for inductive stereotypes Limited exposure to people from other cultures Patterned interactions with people from other cultures tourism immigration war etc A r lncirn tn ccnrt nl Ir nuun m Il39l39l Irnl ir lnntihl hu Praminc DYQO39O39QFQ39I39QPI V l UbJII LU UJJMI I UUI UVVIIUUILUI UI IUMIILIL My DI MULIIIB IU66 IUL U contrasts with cultural Others eg quotWequot are civilized but quotTheyquot are barbanansy Historical context shapes stereotypes Historical contexts set up patterned interactions between groups of people which in turn can shape and modify stereotypes In other words the specific nature of stereotypes is influenced by the historical relationships between the group being stereotyped and the group doing the stereotyping Stereotypes about the Middle East emerged in Europe at a time when many European countries had colonized territories in the Middle East Early on stereotypes emphasized the exotic allure ofthe Middle East or quotOrientquot Orientalism o quotOrientalismquot is a way of seeing that imagines emphasizes exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the US It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic backward uncivilized and at times dangerous Globalization and Stereotypes Globalization is a historical force that may also foster new types of stereotypes Globalization is leading to increased contacts among people from different nations and other social and cultural backgroundsTo make things more complicated globalization is also changing the nature of different nations and groups of people thus leading to new types of stereotypes Globalization is one key historical trend that is shaping in many ways the cross cultural stereotypes being formed today 0 Intercultural contacts are increasing under globalization Increased media coverage of different peoples and actual contacts with people and things from other cultures due to factors ofglobalization like higher rates of migration increased trade global diffusion of media sources like television books movies newspapers etc and increases in international travel have exposed individuals from different cultures to each other more than in any other time period But rather than always creating accurate views of other cu ltu res increased crosscultural contacts created by the forces of globalization may sometimes create or perpetuate stereotypes Due to the speed and relative ease with which people and information can travel around the globe stereotypes can be rapidly formed about or become more entrenched in a group s perspective of another culture 0 To further complicate the picture increasing intercultural flows and associated cultural changes may indeed turn previously useful generalizations into outdated stereotypes ideas that mariachi music is what most people listen to in Mexico do not reflect the widespread popularity ofSpanish language rock hip hop electronic etc music among Mexican youth not to mention the many genres that mix foreign and Mexican musical styles Accurate Generalizations vs Stereotypes What is the difference between a flexible generalization and stereotype The nature and quality of these generalizations about another cultural group can vary a lot One broad prevalent category is the quotstereotypequot To review key characteristics of a stereotype are 0 O O O Inflexible Automatic pilot we are not aware of it Rigid categories for example black white gay straight Chinese evil good friendly unfriendly Premature closure eg judge you as dumb before giving you a chance to show how smart you are Polarized evaluations eg they are good or bad friends or enemies Information distortion not acknowledging information that contradicts the stereotype U nwilling to change categories 0 To help you navigate other cultures it is useful to distinguish between flexible generalizations and stereotypes Key characteristics ofthe flexible generalization are O 0000 0 You You You are mindfulof the categorization and its limits use openended categories make first best guesses and are aware oftheir limitations You make loose interpretations subject to change with new evidence You are open to information that may contradict or modify your generalization You are willing to change categories Stereotypes are generalizations often inflexible incomplete and inflexible and focused on just a few traits applied to every individual in a group 0 A key point of this module is that stereotypes are not useful for navigating other cultures 0 On the other hand we need to make some kind of general observations about other groups of people in order to start understanding and adapting to their social and cultural norms and behaviors So instead of using stereotypes we recommend using flexible generalizations A flexible generalization could provide guidelines for how to interact with a person we have never met before rather than having to approach each person as if we knew nothing about them Especially with people in other cultural settings flexible generalizations can be useful for guiding ourinitial interactions Many though notaI people in a cultural setting will share some behaviors and beliefs in some contexts So it is possible to make flexible generalizations about a group of people especially when these generalizations are based on 0 Flexible secondary data forexample statistics or accounts by other people you hear Careful observations Careful interpretation of yourobservations Experience with members of the group in question When they are used in a flexible manner that is open to contradictory evidence and they are not rigidly applied to everybody in that group or category 0000 Review of the problem with inductive stereotypes First hand experience interactions and observations can be the basis of useful flexible generalizations But even firsthand experience with a different culture can sometimes create or reinforce stereotypes rather than leading to useful generalizations Such stereotypes could be classified as inductive stereotypes inductive characterized by the inference of general laws from particular instances This can be the case for many reasons We may misunderstand a behavior we see for example if people tend to speak louder than we are accustomed to we may stereotype them as quotpushyquot when in their culture it s just normal to speak in a louder volume This is an error in attribution by attribution we mean an explanation fora behavior or characteristic we observe in a person Three key types of attribution errors can occur 1 Fundamental attribution error which means overestimating the role ofa person s or groups traits in relationship to a negative event and underestimating situational factors i For example if a member of an ethnic minority in the United States fails to graduate from high school some people might automatically attribute this to an inherent defect in that person that relates to their group membership and not pay attention to possible situational factors bad luck the social system unfair laws J I f l 1 I III corruption aflCl SO OH LOHVEFSEIY II WE OUFSEIVES 0r someoouy WE like or in a group we identify with has the same problem we do the opposite the problem is attributed to factors outside of the person 2 Principle of negativity involves paying more attention to negative information about a given group of people identified as different from ours or about a person belonging to this group 3 Favorable self bias means that positive behaviors are attributed to inherent characteristics ofthe person or group when it is our group and attributed to situational or external factors when the positive behavior is associated with a person from a different group i For example if we are offered a job it must be due to ourtalents whereas if somebodyfrom an outside group is offered that job it might be attributed to luck unfair laws or other such factors not related to the person s skills 0 We may meet one individual and apply what we notice aboutthem to the whole group thus creating a stereotype We may focus only on certain traits that we are convinced this group has and ignore traits that seem to contradict our previous knowledge thus if we already think members of a certain group are quotlazyquot or quotlike dancing we will make a big deal every time we see any evidence ofthis and will not notice any evidence to the contrary 3 Steps for checking and improving generalizations 1 Ask questions about the evidence 2 Ask questions about the interpretation ofthis evidence 3 Qualification and precision 3 Key reasons why even flexible and valid cultural generalizations must be used with caution 1 Diversity i Not every member ofa group will fit into the general sets of behaviors shared by the majority of the culture A member of a different culture is still an individual and will have their own personality traits which may be completely opposite ofthe stereotypes held for that group or the general cultural norms 2 Context i Depending on context an individual may choose to go beyond customary cultural norms even if he or she usuallv does follow the cultural quotrulesquot ii For example you may hear the advice that manyJapanese people prefer not to directly say quotNoquot to a request you make ofthem but it is possible that if they are visiting you and feel that they want to adapt to your culture they might break their own quotrulequot in that context 3 Change i Cultures change with time so generalizations that were accurate at one time may become outdated
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