Prejudice and Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39

Prejudice and Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39

In February 1999, four New York City police
officers were on patrol in the Bronx when they saw a young black man standing on a stoop.
They thought he looked suspicious. When they pulled over, he retreated into the doorway
and began digging in his pocket. He kept digging as the police shouted at him to show his hands;
a few seconds later, the man, Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was
dead, hit by 19 of the 41 bullets that the police fired at him. What Diallo was reaching
for was his wallet. He was going for his ID as he stood on the steps of his own apartment
building. Diallo’s story, and the officer’s fatal pre-judgment
of him, is recounted in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 bestseller Blink. Gladwell, and
the social psychologists whose work he draws upon, explores Diallo’s case
as an example of that grey area between deliberate violence and an accident, propagated by
non-conscious, or implicit biases. The officers did discriminate against Diallo,
but the prejudice they acted on may have been driven by something more subtle than simple
hatred. And that’s an important thing to think about.
Yes, there are lots of overtly bigoted people and policies at work all over the world, but
what we’re interested in today is the more insidious, non-conscious automatic bias, and
how it can affect our behavior. The fact is, our implicit biases affect the
way we relate to others in a very real way. Our race, gender, age, religion, or sexual
orientation can make the difference between whether we get a job or not, a fair paycheck,
or a good rental, or whether we get randomly pulled over or shot and killed for reaching
for a wallet. In the last two episodes, we’ve examined how
we think about and how we influence one another, but social psychology is also about how we
relate to one another. Like what factors might cause us to help another
person, or harm them, or fear them? What are the social, and cognitive, and emotional roots
of prejudice, racism, and sexism, and how do they shape our society? These are some
of the aspects of ourselves that are the hardest and most uncomfortable for us to explore,
which is why they’re so important to understand. We’ve all been unfairly judged in our time,
and let’s not pretend that we haven’t done our fair share of uninformed judging too. Like it or not, prejudice is a common human
condition. Prejudice just means “prejudgment.” It’s an
unjustified, typically negative attitude toward an individual or group.
Prejudicial attitudes are often directed along the lines of gender, ethnic, socioeconomic
status, or culture, and by definition, prejudice is not the same thing as stereotyping or discrimination,
although the three phenomena are intimately related. People may distrust a female mechanic. That’s
a prejudicial attitude, but it’s rooted in a stereotype, or over-generalized belief about
a particular group. Although it’s often discussed in a negative
way, stereotyping is really more of a general cognitive process that doesn’t have to be
negative. It can even be accurate at times. Like, I have the stereotype that all crows
have wings, injuries and birth defects aside. And that happens to be true. But on the negative end, your prejudice against
female mechanics may be rooted in some inaccurate stereotype about women’s skills with a socket
wrench. And when stereotypical beliefs combine with
prejudicial attitudes and emotions, like fear and hostility, they can drive the behavior
we call discrimination. So a prejudiced person won’t necessarily act
on their attitude. Say you believe in the stereotype that overweight people are lazy.
You might then feel a prejudiced distaste when you see someone who appears overweight. But if you act on your prejudice, and, say,
refuse to hire them for a job or don’t let them sit at your lunch counter, then you’ve
crossed over into discriminating against them. The former apartheid system of racial segregation
in South Africa, the Nazis’ mass killing of Gypsies, Jewish people, and other groups,
and centuries of bloodshed between Protestants and Catholics, are all extreme examples of
violent prejudice and discrimination. The good news is that in many cultures, certain
forms of overt prejudice have waned over time. For example, in 1937 only 1/3 of Americans
said that they’d vote for a qualified woman to be president, while in 2007, that figure was
up to nearly 90 percent. But of course more subtle prejudices can still
linger. In the past, we’ve talked about dual-process
theories of thought, memories, and attitudes, and that while we’re aware of our explicit
thoughts, or implicit cognition still operates under the radar, leaving us clueless about
its effect on our attitudes and behavior. In the same way, prejudice can be non-conscious
and automatic. And I mean it can be so non-conscious that even when people ask us point-blank about
our attitudes, we unwillingly or unknowingly don’t always give them an honest answer. Do you think that men are better at science
the women? Or that Muslims are more violent than Christians? Or that overweight people
are unhealthy? Our tendency to unwittingly doctor our answers
to questions like these is why we have the implicit association test, or IAT. The test
was implemented in the late 1990s to try to gauge implicit attitudes, identities, beliefs, and biases
that people are unwilling or unable to report. You can take the IAT online and measure your
implicit attitudes in all kinds of topics, from race, religion, and gender to disability, weight, and
sexuality. It’s basically a timed categorization task. For example, the age-related IAT looks at
implicit attitudes about older vs. younger people. In it, you might be shown a series
of faces, old and young, and objects, pleasant and unpleasant, like pretty flowers vs. a
pile of garbage. You’re then asked to sort these pictures,
so you’d press the left key if you see a young face or a pleasant object, and press the right
key if you see an old face or an unpleasant object. That’s the stereotypic condition.
Your keystrokes correspond to stereotypical pairs; in this case, associating good stuff
with youth and bad stuff with older age. Then the test asks you to do the same thing
in a counter-stereotypic condition, pressing the left key if you see a young face or an
unpleasant object and the right key if you see an old face or a pleasant object. The core of the test is your reaction time.
Are you faster at sorting when you’re working with a stereotypical pairing than you are
with counter-stereotypical pairings? If that’s the case, even though you may think you’re
unprejudiced, you’ve got an implicit association between youth and goodness, which, as you
might guess, may have some implications about how you think and act toward older people. The test is widely used in research, and contrary
to what some critics think, it’s surprisingly predictive of discriminatory behavior in all
kinds of experimental settings. So that’s one way to measure subtle, implicit
prejudice. But obviously, overt prejudice is far from dead. That’s why discrimination
studies are prominent in social psychology research, and they can also predict, sometimes
with scary accuracy, how discrimination might show up in broad social patterns, like wage
inequality and job opportunity gaps. For instance, the 2012 Yale study led by social
scientist Corinne Moss-Racusin demonstrated that science faculty across the country systematically
discriminated against female science students. In a double-blind study, a representative
sample of science faculty members were asked to hire a fictional student applicant for
a lab-manager job. When the applicant’s name was Jennifer, instead
of John, they viewed her as less competent, were less likely to hire her, offered her less
money, and were less likely to mentor her. And this prejudice was even exhibited by women
faculty members. And that’s an important point. People on both
sides of the stereotype tend to respond similarly, with the subjects of prejudice themselves
often holding the same stereotypical implicit attitudes or engaging in the same discriminatory
behavior. So when we say that stereotypes are pervasive,
we mean pervasive. Now it’s all too easy to hold up examples
of how people are prejudiced, but the real root of the issue is why they are. Here are a few possibilities: For one, prejudices can come up as a way of
justifying social inequalities. This happens when people on both sides of the power and
wealth spectrum start believing that people get what they deserve, and they deserve what
they get. This is called the just-world phenomenon. Prejudices can also be driven by the “us vs.
them,” or as social psychologists often call it, the ingroup-outgroup phenomenon. Whether
you’re in a soccer stadium, or the political arena or school lunchroom, or, you know, in
the comments of this video, dividing the world into in-groups and out-groups definitely drives
prejudice and discrimination. But an in-group identity also gives its members
the benefits of communal solidarity and a sort of safety in numbers. This in-group bias,
or tendency to favor your own group at the expense of others, is powerful, even when
it’s totally irrational. One common social psychology exercise on in-group favoritism
involves dividing a class into two arbitrary groups, say, those wearing sneakers and those
not wearing sneakers. Each person sits with his or her group and is told to list differences
between themselves and the opposing group. The lists usually start out pretty tame, but
become more strident as they grow longer. Eventually, you have sneaker-wearing kids saying that
they’re just smarter than the people without sneakers. The kids who don’t have sneakers
say that the other kids are trashy and low-class. Soon enough, each group has inflated itself
and derided the opposing group, even though the division between the two was essentially
meaningless to begin with. Little exercises like this illustrate the
power of any ingroup-outgroup distinction in creating conflict between groups, and that brings
us to the psychological nature of conflict itself. History is littered with examples of how the
us vs. them mentality has fueled violence in warfare, which is exactly what we’ll be
talking about next time. Today, you learned about how prejudice, stereotyping,
and discrimination affect how we interact and relate to one another. You learned how
prejudice can often be non-conscious and automatic and how tools like the Implicit Association
Test help reveal and measure it. We also looked at the implications of the ingroup-outgroup
phenomenon, and how it can lead to strong in-group bias that often turns aggressive. This episode of Crash Course Psychology was
sponsored by Shane Barr, whose young adult sci-fi adventure book, Reset, is available
on Amazon. Thanks for watching, especially to all of our
Subbable subscribers who make Crash Course possible. To find out how you can become a
supporter or lead sponsor like Shane, just go to This episodes was written by Kathleen Yale,
edited by Blake de Pastino, and our consultant is Dr. Ranjit Bhagwat. Our director and editor
is Nicholas Jenkins, the script supervisor and sound designer is Michael Aranda, and the graphics
team is Thought Cafe.

100 thoughts on “Prejudice and Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39

  1. Doesn’t reaction time have a lot to do with short term muscle memory too? If I remember that good and young are on the left, it will take me a second to remember that good got switched to the other side, and may not be implicit bias, just a result of muscle memory

  2. I hired a very fat lady
    She was a great worker. But broke every office chair creating embarrassing situations for the clients she was seeing.

  3. I really enjoy that this video explains the difference between stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination. I think this is a very common misunderstanding.

  4. I was taught at a young age that if authorities were around to not look like I’m running from them and if in a car with someone who gets pulled over or if I get pulled over to not reach down for anything until they get up to the window and ask me for my ID. Are people not taught this at an early age anymore?

  5. Why are people so quick to judge and to put people into a "group" or stereotype? It is such a sad thing to see people judging others before they even get the chance to talk to them and get to know them first.

  6. I never truly understood the definition of prejudice and how it worked with discrimination, this video did a great job of doing this. I feel like this video will, sadly, be relevant for a while. We still have things to work on.

  7. I had never heard of the "Just-World Phenomenon," but that concept makes a lot of sense and definitely gives one explanation of how people are able to push problems aside or ignore them completely.

  8. Prejudice and discrimination are two things that negatively effect the world. We are all the same on the inside, and I do not understand why anything else matters. These subjects greatly relate to non-western cultures and how we view them. We often stereotype people that choose to do things differently than we do. Once we develop a stereotype, we then revert to discriminating against them. Just like in the U.S., non-western cultures discriminate against some of their own people. Some of these people consist of people that have mental illnesses or other health issues.

  9. I liked how at 3:30 they made sure to explain the difference between prejudice and discrimination with attitude and behavior.

  10. Prejudice and discrimination goes hand in hand with stigmas. Particularly with mental illnesses stigmas. When a person finds out someone has a mental illness they automatically will react with a "oh poor you" or "oh your crazy" attitude. Instead of reacting with concern or understanding.

  11. It's unfortunate that prejudice and discrimination are so common in our society. It not only makes innocent people afraid to be themselves, but affirms the ludicrous ideas that ignorant people have about others. I had never considered stereotypes that are true such as "birds have wings". The word stereotype is so commonly thought of in a negative way, that one being true never even came to mind. In-group bias is something I think everyone has experienced to some extent. Even if it's believing that people who listen to the same genres of music as you have better taste in music.

  12. I think this video does an outstanding job of distinguishing the differences between prejudice and discrimination. Sadly, we still have these issues in 2018.

  13. What about difference? I notice that discrimination comes from when a person or group of people don't fit with societal norms. The example you used where men are associated with science roles so "John" would get more financial gain and interest than "Jenifer" even though they had identical resumes. Isn't the discrimination based off difference? There is examples through out history where this can be seen, in all honestly I may be over simplifying it but that's how I see it.

  14. Stereotypes are always a negative thing. Even if they are positive or neutral stereotypes. Because, they encourage putting people into boxes and assuming you can know everything about a person from certain things they do, think etc.

  15. It's worth noting that the recent "replication crisis" has taken a toll on this particular field of study. A lot of the studies of systemic bias have failed to replicate when people have tried to verify them. The science behind social psychology tends to be much weaker than the science behind clinical psychology.

  16. You made a "summary" of most of what we've been talking about in my PSCI class. This video is amazing. It helped a lot. Currently studying for an exam for this class.

  17. If I see a shady guy outside a doorstep in a bad neighborhood I’d ask what he’s doing. If I ask to see his hands and he goes into his pocket I’ll defend myself. When he says there was a bias he means they were being racist.

  18. The overweight thing is not true.I am sick with hyper thyroid and i loose weight effortlessly.I do soo much less exercise than i used to ,im soo lazy in comparison.Yet im so much thinner🤷🏻‍♀️ prejudice

  19. What are the social, cognitive, and emotional roots of prejudice, racism, and sexism, and how do they shape our society?

  20. Allyson Puckett. I found this video very interesting, as it allows me to understand in greater detail of how prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination link together. I have heard definitions for these three things, but I have never quite understood the difference between all three. Understanding these terms allows me to understand more about different cultures in this world.

  21. I find it saddening that societies all around the world have continued to promote prejudice and discriminatory ways of viewing other people. Those are things that are learned and taught to people as they grow up. Therefore, it is important that parents/guardians teach their children to treat everyone fairly and the way that they want to be treated. Things in a society are not going to change unless individuals within that society begin to change themselves and pass that along to others.

    -Jaclyn Crowder

  22. I really liked how this video addressed the differences in prejudice and discrimination. Additionally, acknowledged that prejudice is something that everyone experiences cognitively.

  23. I believe it is harder for those who don't face discrimination and prejudice to understand the two and how different they are. Unless you haven't experienced not being allowed to sleepover a friends house or go to a birthday party, you just don't understand. Discrimination and prejudice happen everywhere and have for as long as people have inhabited the earth.

  24. Prejudice has been misconstrued for years. People say that it is the same as discrimination and stereotyping. This is obviously not true and people should start taking that into effect!

  25. Their are many incidents happening where an innocent person is killed do to discrimination. I believe that some of these incidents may be because the killer had prejudice views and didn't realize it till the encounter. I believe this happens in police departments all the time. It should be required that police have to take a test at least once a year, to determine if one is prejudice or has ever discriminated. Anyone who is prejudice or has discriminated should no longer be allowed to work for a police department.

  26. The stigma of mental health in certain Non-Western cultures can be closely related to stereotyping. Assuming that someone who has a mental illness is shameful or a bad person is essentially the same as assuming a blonde is dumb.

  27. Stereotyping is very wrong. No one should die because of what another thinks is going to happen. I do agree that people are not always acting out of hatred or racism, most people believe what they hear and it sticks with them so they act out of fear. With that being said you should not act out of fear!

  28. Hi, this is Kyericka Brooks. This video pinpoints discrimination, prejudice and how our culture and what we are accustomed to leading to that judgment towards others. It's crazy to believe that race, gender and even religion can influence and determine how we act and act towards different cultures, genders and races. It's sad we continually judge and show distrust or hate in other races and genders.

  29. This article was very informative. It broke down the different between prejudice, discrimination, and stereotype is a simple and easy to understand way. I previously have not though about the distinctions between these three words.These principals can be demonstrated through an example. Muslim women are being shamed and have an increased for postpartum depression when they are unable to breastfeed. Breastfeed is a part of the Muslim belief system. A person thinking that all Muslim mother breastfeed is a stereotype. The Muslim faith believes that a Muslim mother not breastfeed is shameful in a prejudice thought. the situation does not become discrimination until the Muslim mother who is not breastfeeding is treated unfairly such as being judged.

  30. This video is very informative because it covers how what culture we are from leads us to discriminate against others, whether it's because of our religion or race, and it also differentiates what stereotyping, discriminating, and having prejudice really are.

  31. It's sad that tragedy has happened because of prejudice, racism, and sexism. It's often the little things that we let ourselves think, a fear, or something like it, that drives us to hurt other people in our lives sometimes even in the littlest ways. But we don't have to always believe our own thoughts, and especially not act on them on impulse. Lots of good info here on this topic.

  32. Alyssa Dixon
    These videos always help me to really learn the material and crash course gives good examples for all of their learning material. this video especially helped me learn the differences in prejudice and discrimination and helped me relate it to the real world.

  33. I have always had an issue with understanding or comprehending the three terms of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping, as I always seemed to get them confused. This video does a great job explaining the difference between the three terms, and I also like how they give examples with every topic that is discussed. The only complaint that I have is that the speaker sometimes talks too fast for me to fully comprehend what he is saying so I have had to re-play it a few times.

  34. As always, this video does a great job breaking down different topics by providing definitions and examples. It is both interesting and sad to see how prejudice has continued in our society despite movements to get rid of it. In my opinion, many people are not overtly prejudiced anymore because they are afraid of judgement from others, which they should be, but implicit bias can be just as damaging.

  35. I do not believe that there will ever be a time in the world where there is not discrimination. That being said, people do need to have more knowledge and be accepting of those that differ. For example, many people believe that all Muslim individuals are violent without knowing more about the Islamic faith.

  36. Learning about automatic bias makes me want to take the test and try and get rid of it in myself. The beginning made me upset, that poor guy just wanted to get his ID, and instead was hit with 19 of the 41 bullets.

  37. People cry when a single Negro dies, but there's more of them being born than dying.
    We need to continue sinking their numbers until there's not a single one of them left alive regardless of age, gender and born / unborn status.

  38. How do you know if someone who holds prejudicial beliefs will take it and discriminate against someone.

  39. CrashCourse has honestly helped me understand neuropsychology and philosophy and Ace my classes. It has helped me feel less overwhelmed about returning back to school after taking off 6 years. I love these informative videos so much!

  40. Men are better at science and fat people are unhealthy. These are just biological facts you moron. Such an imposing of thought cannot alter people 's knowledge about something.

  41. A positive or negative stereotype is what define what is seen by the mass majority as right and wrong. I knew briefly of what prejudice meant, but this video better help explain it.

  42. My question is, why did the law enforcement officers find it to be necessary to fire so many shots at the man that was only reaching for his wallet on the front steps of the home he resided in? What was so suspicious about his behavior? Excessive force Is not necessary!

  43. I've always thought that if a person was prejudice then they were automatically discriminatory as well. Now I know that they don't always go hand and hand. Crash Course always helps me understand things better than what I thought I understood.

  44. There are a lot of people that fall under the Just World Phenomenon and truly believe that people just get what they deserve and deserve what they get. That is not always the case because there are plenty of court cases where people get sentences that are not just for the crime committed and then people see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  45. There is a lot of prejudice still going on in the world today and this has, in turn, caused a lot of discrimination. There have been many times in history where prejudice was the leading cause of discrimination towards certain people, which is very unfair. As said in the Crash Course, there are a lot of reasons as to why this prejudice is created and hopefully with this in mind, prejudice will be seen and stopped. Then, it could lead to the discrimination of innocent people stopping.

  46. This video made me realize that often times a lot of our issues are definitely fueled by in-group out-group situations and circumstances.

  47. With the phenomenon of the In-Group Out-Group phenomenon, it makes me wonder what does it take and how are the In-Group biases are formed within groups of people.

  48. Application bias is one of the most genuinely frustrating factors in the modern work environment. We have the technology, I cant imagine why applications aren't anonymous to the reviewer until they're approved. Interviews would still be a hotspot for prejudice, but at least minority groups could make it one step further without being filtered out by their name.

  49. When the police have cameras, they are more likely to shoot a black person than without the camera, a study found. The police don't have significant prejudice against blacks.

  50. According to research…
    Muslims ARE more prone to violence than Christians ( their religious texts justify violence against others… It's just not a religion of peace)
    Men ARE better scientists for the moat part! ( men are for the most part more interested in things rather than people so therefore have a better aptitude in general for the Sciences)
    Fat people ARE unhealthy! Obesity-related diseases cause more deaths in America than smoking!
    So what happens when a bias is based on factual information… Do you just get to be called a jerk

  51. Prejudice and even xenophobia are natural responses. These are fears coded into our genes and have good reasons, such as defense against diseases and malicious intent from unknown people of different ethnicity and culture. Hatred based on these fears is the real problem. This can be only combatted by making people aware of their own fears. At the same time, I think the first example is also greatly influenced by the prevalence of guns in the US. Cops there are overly aggressive and fidgety due to the very real possibility of them being shot by just about anyone.

  52. Just so you can fix it, the question about men being better or not than women at science says 'men' a second time rather than women.

  53. I guess this is my one of the best topics in psychology. This lesson really caused me to debate myself and my brain of what it means to judge a person ahaha.

  54. Candice Shelnut
    I wish the world had a lot less prejudice and discrimination. I truly believe the world would be a much better place.

  55. If we all took the time to understand some people's cultures, maybe the world would be a better place, and maybe a lot less discrimination would occur. We immediately judge others, but we don't take into context their culture, religion, etc..

  56. I totally agree that your race and gender can definitely affect you in society which is very sad. I feel everyone should have equal opportunities despite your race and gender.

  57. I wasn't aware that being prejudice is not stereotyping, and discrimination is different, but they are all similar.

  58. I think it's important for people to try to examine their thoughts and action to see if they have any unknown prejudices that they have internalized from the people or culture around them

  59. Actually, I am Georgian. I have been in America for 30 years. I speak three languages, and obtained three different degrees. The third degree I obtained in 2019 (Majoring in Accounting). Every time I apply for a job, I am rejected. I did not grow up that way. I always treated people like human beings. I learned discrimination in America. But American government teaches foreigners how to be democratic and how to protect human rights. In fact, Georgia had a queen leader 900 years ago. On top of that, in 1918 Georgia had women in the Georgian parliament, when in 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in America. LOL

  60. I can’t believe you’re trying to justify hatred is ok…….. is this a stereotype you ppl are completely lost …… anytime general try to define in this it’s easily a coverup

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