Types of Response to Prejudice and Discrimination
Probably no two persons respond in exactly the same way to the problems they face as members of a minority group. It is possible, however, to classify the patterns of adjustment into broad types for purposes of analysis and to point out the kinds of persons and groups most likely to adopt each type as the primary mode of response to prejudice and discrimination. Response to the dominant world is not simply a matter of individual trial and error, for the culture of a minority group contains traditional adjustment techniques that are passed on, intentionally and unintentionally, to the oncoming generation. These techniques will vary from group to group; there will be many variations, moreover, within each group. To speak simply of “Americans of Mexican descent,” for example, is to miss sharp contrasts among them. Both the nature of their problems and the modes of response are quite different for immigrant farm laborers, second-generation urban dwellers, and those families of Mexican ancestry who have roots in the Southwest going back in some instances 400 years. As Charles S. Johnson pointed out (1943, p. 231) with respect to Blacks, the response to prejudice varies with the regional and cultural setting, social status, the specific situational factors, and the basic personality type of the individuals, among other factors.
KeywordsMinority Group Avoidance Response Dominant Group Dominant Society Oppressed Group
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