Relationship between racism and heterosexism

relationship between racism and heterosexism

This study examined the relations between experiences of racism and heterosexism, both external and internalized, and African American sexual minority. ABSTRACT. This study examined the relations between experiences of racism and heterosexism, both external and internalized, and African. American sexual. This article begins with the link of culture to prejudice, noting specific to racism may also apply to other intolerances such as sexism, heterosexism, classism.

It operates through a dual process of invisibility and attack. Homosexuality usually remains culturally invisible; when people who engage in homosexual behavior or who are identified as homosexual become visible, they are subject to attack by society. Examples of heterosexism in the United States include the continuing ban against lesbian and gay military personnel; widespread lack of legal protection from antigay discrimination in employment, housing, and services; hostility to lesbian and gay committed relationships, recently dramatized by passage of federal and state laws against same-gender marriage; and the existence of sodomy laws in more than one-third of the states.

Culture, Prejudice, Racism, and Discrimination - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication

Although usage of the two words has not been uniform, homophobia has typically been employed to describe individual antigay attitudes and behaviors whereas heterosexism has referred to societal-level ideologies and patterns of institutionalized oppression of non-heterosexual people. Limitations By drawing popular and scientific attention to antigay hostility, the creation of these terms marked a watershed.

Nevertheless, they have important limitations. Critics have observed that homophobia is problematic for at least two reasons. First, empirical research does not indicate that heterosexuals' antigay attitudes can reasonably be considered a phobia in the clinical sense. Second, using homophobia implies that antigay prejudice is an individual, clinical entity rather than a social phenomenon rooted in cultural ideologies and intergroup relations. Moreover, a phobia is usually experienced as dysfunctional and unpleasant.

Antigay prejudice, however, is often highly functional for the heterosexuals who manifest it. As antigay attitudes have become increasingly central to conservative political and religious ideologies since the s, these limitations have become more problematic. However, heterosexism, with its historic macro-level focus on cultural ideologies rather than individual attitudes, is not a satisfactory replacement for homophobia. Sexual Prejudice Scientific analysis of the psychology of antigay attitudes will be facilitated by a new term.

Sexual prejudice serves this purpose nicely. Broadly conceived, sexual prejudice refers to all negative attitudes based on sexual orientation, whether the target is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual. Given the current social organization of sexuality, however, such prejudice is almost always directed at people who engage in homosexual behavior or label themselves gay, lesbian, or bisexual Herek, Like other types of prejudice, sexual prejudice has three principal features: It is an attitude i.

If someone commits a hate crime based on sexual orientation, why are gay men more often the target than lesbians? Would hate crimes in other countries reflect the same axes of difference, or might hate crimes be based differently?

German hate crimes might be based more on ethnicity e. Why do people commit such acts at all? One mistake we often make is thinking of prejudice and discrimination only in extreme terms such as genocide and hate crimes.

Definitions: Sexual Prejudice, Homophobia, and Heterosexism

Culture and Intolerance Re Defining Culture As we look to the cultural influence on intolerance, we must first consider the definition of culture. The study of culture has deep roots in anthropological and linguistic research, especially as seen in the work of Franz Boaz and his students Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Edward Sapir, as well as in the early work of Edward Tyler, itself based on earlier traditions of ethology Darwin and social evolution Marx.

This work influenced the work of anthropologist E. Scholars have debated whether culture is a shared mental framework of beliefs, norms for behavior i. These are influenced and created through symbolic behavior, action, and other aspects of the environment history, geography. The definitional dimensions of culture described by Kroeber and Kluckhohn explained well many of the definitions of culture up until the s.

relationship between racism and heterosexism

After that time, some scholars especially in communication began to treat culture more as a set of symbols and meanings. Others framed culture as a process of constructing social meanings and systems through communication. As people sing, speak, play, tell jokes, and conduct business, they are constantly re creating their culture—both relying upon it and changing it.

relationship between racism and heterosexism

With this diversity of definitions in mind, one is not sure what to think culture is or should be. Baldwin, Faulkner, Hecht, and Lindsley present a series of essays on the definition of culture by authors from six different disciplines e.

While they are reluctant to settle on a single definition of culture, this definition embraces most trends: It is in the creation and defending of cultures—from countries to local and virtual communities—that intolerance often becomes apparent. The Role of Culture in Prejudice Of various schools of thought about the nature and origins of intolerance, only one approach suggests that intolerance is biological or in some way inherited, and that is sociobiology, or evolutionary theory.

But even evolutionary theorists cannot explain all intolerance based on a theory of inherited impulse. Research on intolerance in 90 preindustrial societies suggests that, when there are clearly psychological causes for intergroup conflict, groups ultimately use communication to create who the enemy is and how one should demonstrate or show intolerance Ross, In sum, there is a strong cultural component determining which intolerances are felt or expressed in a given place or time.

Culture, however one defines it, can affect tolerance. The way that we construct our identities through communication is inherently linked to how we construct the identities of those in outgroups, as we shall see; but they are also linked to behavior within our group.

Social constructionist approaches to culture thus often become critical in their focus on power relations. Ethnocentrism, Xenophobia The purpose of this article is primarily to look at racism and discrimination as forms of prejudice; however, these cannot be understood without a larger understanding of prejudice in general and other forms or types of prejudice. For Allport, prejudice is a cognitive or psychological phenomenon: Prejudice is ultimately a problem of personality formation and development; no two cases of prejudice are precisely the same.

The idea is frequently applied to a mistrust or dislike rather than merely fear of outgroups or those perceived to be different, especially in national terms. While the Greek translation suggests the psychological component of fear, recent researchers have treated the concept in behavioral or message terms. Historical research on xenophobia links it to anti-Semitism and, more recently, to Islamophobia, though it does not have as clear a historical trajectory as ethnocentrism; many more recent studies look at South Africa as a model nation in attempting to strategically reduce xenophobia.

Researchers use a variety of methods to look at xenophobia, depending on their research assumptions and background disciplines. Van Dijk notes how groups can use language such as hyperbole of differences to marginalize immigrants, often through appeals to so-called democratic values. Ethnocentrism Some types of prejudice relate specifically to the larger and more traditional notion of culture i. If one sees ethnocentrism strictly as a feeling of superiority, nationalism or school spirit, or religious loyalty, etc.

The Hmong-descended people of the Pacific Northwest in the United States will likely feel that their ways are superior to those of Moroccan- or Guatemalan-descended peoples, as well as to those of the dominant culture.

Auestad presented a series of essays on the rise of political discourses across the world that highlighted elements of national security and identity traditionas well as the building of cultures of fear by focusing on the negative aspects of foreigners or those of different religious groups within single countries.

Some elements of the U. Within the field of intercultural communication, at least two lines of research have focused on ethnocentrism. The first is by Jim Neuliep, who, with colleagues, has revisited the measurement of ethnocentrism in the classic work by the Frankfurt School, The Authoritarian Personality, with a new measure of ethnocentrism.

relationship between racism and heterosexism

After applying the measure to white Americans, Neuliep continues to test the relationship of ethnocentrism to other important intercultural variables, such as intercultural anxiety and communication satisfaction. In this approach, a range of attitudes reflects either ethnocentrism or ethnorelativism. Ethnocentric stances include denial e. This approach has gained ground around the world and in different disciplines, from Finland to Iran, with applications from cultural sensitivity to interreligious tensions.

Prejudice One of the difficulties of discussing prejudice is the conceptual overlap between terms e. There is a danger of such appreciation, as borrowing e.

relationship between racism and heterosexism

We are not talking about a dominant group borrowing from subordinate or subaltern groups in a colonizing or folklorizing way, but about cultural learning and dialogue.

By this definition, prejudice is an aspect of affect, or feeling toward a group, though it is closely related to cognitions, or thoughts about the group, referring to stereotypes.

Most dictionary definitions follow the attitudinal approach, though in common usage, people often use the term to refer to things like racism, which carry behavioral and even policy implications that are not strictly attitudes.

By strictest definition, prejudice is an attitude that favors one group over another, based on or related to cognitions, and both leading to and influenced by behaviors including communicationtexts e.

These include historical, sociological, situational, psychodynamic, and phenomenological i. For Althussera Marxist philosopher, prejudice would likely, in the last instance, be an issue of economic and social class considerations. A broader consideration should consider multiple causes Baldwin,including evolutionary causes, psychological causes both psychodynamic and perceptualsociological causes, and rhetorical causes.

Communication and behavior become central in each of these causes, highlighting the need for a communicative understanding of prejudice. Evolutionary causes, often referred to under the rubric of sociobiology, focus on the way in which prejudice might be an inherited trait, possibly even genetic see, e. This approach includes the idea that groups seek to preserve themselves e.

Culture, Prejudice, Racism, and Discrimination

Psychological explanations of prejudice fall into at least two major divisions. The first, psychodynamic, suggests that prejudice serves as a mechanism for individuals to meet psychological needs. Thus researchers have long linked it to things such as ambivalence toward parents, rigid personality structure, and a need for authority Allport, ; Adorno et al.

A second aspect of the psychological approach concerns perception or cognition.

This contains a range of possible influences on prejudice, including such things as selective attention, perception, and recall of the negative behavior of outgroup members, or the notion of attributional biases that impact how we give meanings to the behavior of those of our ingroup and those of outgroups. At the center of many of these explanations is the notion of categorization of people i. Categorization, in social identity theory, is not a form of prejudice—it is simply the mental placing of people or things, actions, characteristics, etc.

However, those boxes are closely related to the stereotypes that cling to groups. Stereotypes are overgeneralizations we make about groups that we apply to individuals in those groups Herbst, Although these stereotypes provide a mental shortcut for processing information about others, they interfere with our encoding, storage, and recall of information about members of our own group and other groups Stephan, It is likely that if we are on auto-pilot or in a state of mindlessness, we will resort to stereotypes.

But individuating people i. Group-based, or sociological, approaches, like psychological approaches, are varied. Other group-based factors also impact prejudice, such as perceived group competition for jobs and resources in times of economic upheaval e. It is more likely that mental structures and communicative practices co-create each other, through forms we shall examine in more detail.

But, as a complete hologram provides the most faithful image, the most complete view of an intolerance will come through multiple views e. A Case Study in Prejudice Racism as a specific type of prejudice is one of the most hotly discussed and debated sites of intolerance in contemporary times in the United States and beyond.