anatomy of prejudice

Arthur L. Baron (abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA)
Mon, 7 Oct 1996 15:28:03 MDT

I saw a short news broadcast today explaining a study done by psychologists
with respect to the anatomy of prejudice (racism). Again this is an area that
anthropology should be taking the lead, but alas, this is not so.

Anyway, news broadcasts being what they are, the research findings suggest a
couple of interesting points. The participants were Blacks and Whites
of both genders set into groups of 4 with different mixtures of gender and
colour. The focus of the study centered on teamwork and problem solving, ie how
well do people work together toward a goal. It seems that when a group of 4
males (2 Black and 2 White - ie equal representation) came together, the most
conflict arose, what the researchers called power struggles, whereas groups of
women under the same circumstances displayed less or little conflict. So,
their interpretation is that racism is more defined along male behaviour
patterns. They also suggest that when Black numbers start to approach 30% of an
organization's complexion, White males start to feel nervous and

Anthropology is the granddaddy of multiculturalism but persists in avioding
"sensitive" issues.