Consider these examples from a typical, large suburban high school.
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- Kelly is a sophomore who attends a meeting of the all-male robotics club. She says she has an interest in joining the club and working on building a robot for an upcoming competition. The male members of the club snicker at her and one boy puts his foot out and “accidently” trips Kelly in the aisle. The male teacher in the room tells the boys to settle down, but he also tells Kelly that he isn’t sure she would have the necessary skills for the club since the other members have all had several years experience building robots. “After all,” he said, “you were probably playing with dolls for all the years these boys were building things and experimenting with electronics.”
- John is an artistic, intelligent boy who is not interested in sports or other “typical” male pursuits. He enjoys writing fiction and poetry for the school newspaper. When he gets on the school bus no one will share a seat with him. He ends up standing and a group of students in the back of the bus harass and heckle him, calling him homophobic slurs.
- In the teachers’ lounge, a group of Caucasian teachers huddle around the water cooler gossiping about why one of their fellow teachers, an Asian-American woman, was promoted to assistant principal over other teachers with more years of experience. “I know she has a master’s degree, but I still think this is clearly an affirmative action thing—they just want to get more minorities in administration. They don’t care about who is really qualified, and that’s all there is to it.”
Select one of the examples above that you feel illustrates prejudiced attitudes. Answer the following:
- What elements of this scenario make it an example of prejudice?
- Is there also discrimination present?
- Is there stereotyping in this example?
- Explain why the prejudice is occurring using the following terms: Social categorization, in-group, out-group, and ingroup bias.
- Based on your readings, what type of intervention could help to reduce prejudice in a situation like this?