Is the attribution of cultural differences to minorities an expression of racial prejudice?

Jorge Vala*, Cicero Pereira, Rui Costa-Lopes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The social psychological literature considers two main perspectives on the study of perceived cultural differences between majorities and minorities: one proposes that perception of cultural differences is an antecedent of prejudice and another states that the attribution of cultural differences to minorities is already a hidden expression of racial prejudice. This paper offers further support to this latter perspective. One hundred and ninety-four participants answered a questionnaire measuring (1) general racist belief; (2) cultural differences attributed to Black people (hetero-ethnicization); (3) the asymmetric attribution of secondary and primary emotions to the in-group and to Black people (infra-humanization); (4) the asymmetric attribution of natural and cultural traits to in-group members and to Black people (ontologization); and (5) negative evaluation of this social category. The general racist belief scale was not anchored in a specific group and measured the belief in the inferiority of certain social groups or peoples based on biological or cultural factors. Relationships between the scales were analysed through a set of Structural Equation Models. According to the predictions, results showed that the attribution of cultural differences is a dimension of prejudice. Results also showed that attribution of cultural differences, negative evaluation of Black people, ontologization, and infra-humanization were different dimensions of a common latent factor that can be identified as racial prejudice; and that prejudice was predicted by general racist belief. Results are discussed in the light of the study of the impact of perceived cultural differences on intergroup relations and in the light of the "new racism" approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ethnicization
  • Infra-humanization
  • Ontologization
  • Prejudice
  • Racism

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