Stereotipi sugli stereotipi

Secondo il John J. Ray di “DO WE STEREOTYPE STEREOTYPING? STEREOTYPING AND RACISM” non esiste alcun collegamento tra razzismo e pregiudizi. L’autore passa in rassegna la letteratura scientifica disponibile sui pregiudizi.

La tesi è chiara…

… A notion that seems to figure prominently in most explanations of racism is the notion of stereotyping. It certainly seems to occur in almost all elementary psychology and social psychology textbook accounts of racism. It will be submitted here, however, that even a desultory reading of the social cognition literature pushes us towards the view that stereotyping neither causes racism nor has any useful role in its explanation…

Molti, purtroppo, credono ancora in una versione superata del concetto di pregiudizio.

Facciamo il caso sintomatico di un autore influente come Lippman…

… as Weber & Crocker (1983) point out, the old Lippman view of stereotypes as being mythical, rigidly held and highly resistant to change still seems to be widely believed among psychologists…

Ma già a quei tempi c’è chi seminava dubbi

… More careful writers (e.g. Allport, 1954) admit that stereotypes may often have a “kernel of truth”…

La teoria etnocentrica stabiliva poi un collegamento robusto tra la concezione ortodossa del pregiudizio e il razzismo. Autori di riferimento: Sumner (1906), Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson & Sanford (1950). La teoria….

… This theory predicts that people who place a high value on their own group will tend to scorn outgroups…

Ma esiste davvero una correlazione, per esempio, tra odio per lo straniero e sopravvalutazione del proprio gruppo di appartenenza?  Driedger & Clifton (1984) ci dicono che è scarsa…

… From their Table III we find that the correlation between autostereotype and heterostereotype is in only one case out of 24 above… Thinking well of your own group, in other words, has virtually nothing to do with thinking ill of other groups….

Altra ricerca dalle conclusioni ancor più radicali…

… For example: “Not only is ingroup favoritism in the laboratory situation not related to outgroup dislike, it also does not seem causally dependant on denigration of the outgroup” (Turner, 1978)…

Pensar bene di sè e del proprio gruppo non implica odio per gli altri. Autori di riferimento: Brewer & Collins (1981, p. 350) and Brown, Condor, Matthews, Wade & Williams (1986), Ray & Furnham, 1984; Heaven, Rajab & Ray, 1985 and Ray & Lovejoy, 1986.

La teoria contraria è più probabile: l’autostima ci spinge ad instaurare relazioni più sane con lo straniero…

… There is, furthermore, a substantial body of thought which sees pro-ingroup sentiment as something like self-esteem –i.e. a positive influence and a basis for a healthy, adaptive and positive view of the world. It is hard to think well of outgroups if you do not think well of your own group…

Autori: Mihalyi, 1984/ 85), Cairns (1982), Furnham & Kirris (1983) and Elwert (1982).

Ma gli stereotipi sono accurati?

Di certo sono differenziati per gruppo etnico, il che è un indice di accuratezza…

… Stereotyping studies in fact almost invariably find that responses to different ethnic groups are highly differentiated (e.g. Kippax & Brigden, 1967; Gallois, Callan & Parslow, 1982; Callan & Gallois, 1983; Houser, 1979)…. what is believed of one ethnic group is not believed of others. Jews, for instance, are seen as different from blacks… Asians might be seen as “industrious” and blacks as “dirty”…

Altri autori sul punto: Newman, Liss & Sherman (1983), Ray (1974) and Ray & Lovejoy (1986).

Altro indice di accuratezza: c’è accordo tra gruppi nel sostenere uno  stereotipo, spesso anche con il gruppo interessato dallo stereotipo…

… There also seems to be a not inconsiderable tendency for agreement between the in- and the out-group concerning the characteristics of the in-group…

Un esempio…

… For instance, Callan & Gallois (1983) found that Anglo-Australians, Greek-Australians and Italian-Australians all showed a high level of agreement that Anglo-Australians were “sportsmanlike”, “happy-go-lucky” and “pleasure-loving”…

Altro esempio…

… See also Kippax & Brigden (1977), where Australian and American opinions about one-another and various other nationalities are shown to have a lot in common…

Chi discrimina lo fa in modo altamente differenziato…

… Gallois, Callan & Parslow (1982) that people who discriminate on ethnic grounds do so in highly differentiated ways… On matters of interest to him (i.e. racial and ethnic matters) the racially discriminatory person is cognitively complex rather than cognitively simple (See also Ray, 1972a)….

Gli stereotipi positivi fanno bene?

Si direbbe di no…

… Viljoen (1974) found that South African Blacks thought higher of English-speaking whites than they did of themselves yet those same blacks still liked their own group best in other ways. In particular, blacks preferred more social distance from the English-speaking whites than from other blacks. To put it plainly, the blacks thought that the English- speakers were admirable but still did not like the thought of their daughters marrying one….

Lo stereotipo positivo allarga la distanza sociale e ostacola l’integrazione tra gruppi: Miller (1985).

Un esempio di scuola…

… Australian schoolchildren (whites) who had large numbers of blacks (Australian Aborigines) in their classes resented black welfare programs most when they had positive stereotypes of blacks….

La politica delle quote è spesso sostenuta da chi nutre pregiudizi negativi sulla minoranza…

… Conversely, the people who accepted affirmative action programs uncritically were those whites who thought very poorly of blacks…

Concllusione…

… The simple idea that positive stereotypes are good and negative stereotypes are bad is thus revealed as an oversimplification…

Il primo autore a sostenere la funzione benigna degli stereotipi fu Schutz (1932). Tesi…

… If you can categorize people, you have to make less effort in order to interact constructively with them…

Lo stereotipo è uno strumento conoscitivo, come la generalizzazione e l’astrazione. La guerra agli stereotipi in fondo è una piccola  guerra alla scienza…

Altro autore…

… Berry (1970) is one of many who concede that stereotypes can indeed have a useful role…. stereotypes are an aid in accurately knowing what the key (i.e. different) traits of various groups are… enabling us to deal with difficult and ambiguous data…

Lo stereotipo non fa che mettere  a frutto l’informazione minima e ridurre l’incertezza…

… It is a great human strength that we can make great use of even the tiniest amounts of information…

Sulla natura generalizzante degli stereotipi…

… Hamill, Wilson & Nisbett (1980) found that people will generalize from a single instance even when they are specifically told in advance that the instance concerned is an a-typical one…

Sulla loro natura adattiva

… Doing so, however, does not mean that some rigid mental structure has been adopted. Quite to the contrary, stereotypes are approximations. They are continually modified as information comes in…

Lo stereotipo è un’approssimazione in itinere. Autori: Locksley, Hepburn & Ortiz, 1982.

Un esempio…

… show that when a target person is being evaluated by Ss, the provision of case information about that individual target person will substantially reduce the role of stereotypes in the evaluation made of the target person by the Ss…

Il lavoro di Galper & Weiss (1975)…

… stereotyping was not used where the situation was more fully specified…

Altro caso…

… Braithwaite, Gibson & Holman (1985-86)… stereotyping diminishes as the experimental situation becomes more realistic….

Conclusione possibile…

… Beyond the point where better information than what is contained in the stereotype becomes available, however, the stereotype is steadily abandoned as a guide to action….

Lo stereotipo persiste in assenza di informazioni

… Where stereotypes persist, however, are those situations where specific information will seldom be adequate or available soon enough. For instance, when confronted by an unfamiliar black, a white does not conclude that he has no information to guide him in the interaction. He instead uses his stereotypes…

Lo stereotipo persiste nelle situazioni anonime

… Thus a white who encounters a large black coming towards him on a dark street late at night will not normally approach the encounter with an empty mind…

Lo stereotipo si aggiorna con la presa di contatto specifica…

… If, however, the black simply says “Nice day” when he passes, the stereotype will no longer have any role in the interaction and some pleasantry in reply may be uttered…

Studi a supporto: Stein, Hardyck &Smith (1965), McCauley, Stitt & Segal (1980) and Bond (1986).

Un esempio tratto da Bayton, McAlister & Hamer (1956).

… These authors described a person to students simply as “black” and got the usual stereotypes back: “dirty”, “lazy” etc. They then modified the description to “educated black” and instantly got greatly changed responses. The educated black was in fact described in terms very similar to an educated white…

Cos’è allora uno stereotipo?…

… Rather, stereotyping is a process of successive approximation towards accurate judgments…

Lo stereotipo fa parte a pieno titolo della razionalità bayesiana

… The stereotype may start out containing very little in the way of accurate information but as knowledge of and experience with the particular class of person accumulates, the information will become progressively more accurate…

Autori a supporto: Locksley et al, 1982; Galper & Weiss, 1975; Braithwaite et al, 1985- 86; McCauley et al, 1980; Stein, Hardyck & Smith, 1965.

Eppure ci sono anche studi che mostrano la rigidità dei pregiudizi: Pettigrew, 1979; Johnson & Judd, 1983; Darley & Gross, 1983.

Ma non è affatto razionale abbandonare uno stereotipo in seguito ad un’eccezione: “una rondine non fa primavera“. Questi autori s3mbrano trascurarlo.

… We do not immediately abandon or revise the rule but instead wait until several or maybe many exceptions build up. If blacks are generally seen by whites as lazy, one diligent black man will not disturb that stereotype. “One swallow does not make a summer”. If, however, lots of diligent black men are encountered, cognitive change will eventuate (Weber & Crocker, 1983)…

Gli autori che sostengono la rigidità non colgono quanto sia razionale tollerare delle eccezioni, sono vittime di un’ idealizzazione popperiana della conoscenza…

… Writers such as Pettigrew simply fail to consider adequately how many exceptions (to a rule) will be tolerated…

Conclusione: lo stereotipo non è il primo passo verso il razzismo ma verso la conoscenza in generale…

… Stereotyping may be involved as a step in the formation of racially antagonistic attitudes but it is involved as a step in the formation of all attitudes…

Tanto è vero che anche il tollerante ha i suoi bravi stereotipi, solo che li nasconde…

… Devine showed that “tolerant” people do not differ in their awareness of stereotypes from non-tolerant people but that the tolerant people deliberately suppress their use of stereotypes…

Altri autori a sostegno: Smith, Griffith, Griffith & Steger (1980).

Esempio di studio…

… These authors studied stereotypes of Germans held by American students who had been living in Germany for some time. They found that the students had stereotypes that were realistic and positive and concluded that stereotyping is of little use in explaining racial and ethnic antagonisms…

Ma se i pregiudizi non spiegano il razzismo, quali sono le teorie alternative più promettenti?…

… Perhaps the most hopeful line of enquiry for psychologists, however, may be those theories and findings which portray racial preferences as just another instance of a more general human tendency to prefer the familiar and thus to prefer people who are similar to themselves (Rokeach, 1960; Stein, Hardyck & Smith, 1965; Levine & Campbell, 1972; Liebowitz & Lombardo, 1980; Taylor & Guimond, 1978; Byrne, Clore & Smeaton, 1986; Marin & Salazar, 1985; Ray, 1983)…

Un forte sentimento comunitario può facilmente evolvere in razzismo. In questo senso sono i pilastri della comunità i soggetti più a rischio.

 

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