Social workers are expected to apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person‐in environment, and other multi-disciplinary theoretical frameworks during stages of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation when practicing in the field. This discussion is intended to help you demonstrate and develop your critical thought related to these practice b
- Explain how you might apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment when engaging with the identified client in the case.
ehaviors. If you have not already done so, begin working on your final project. The final project asks you to choose a case study on an adolescent from this course (e.g., Dalia, Eboni Logan, or Diane). Decide which case study you plan to use and begin working on Part A of the final project.
- Explain how you might apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment when assessing the identified client in the case.
- Explain how you might apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment when intervening with the identified client in the case.
- Discuss any areas where you feel challenged or need additional support for your final project.
APA Format using references:
Zastrow, C. H., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L. (2019). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
- Chapter 5, “Ethnocentrism and Racism” (pp. 233-281)
Melchert, T. P. (2015). Treatment planning. In Biopsychosocial practice: A science-based framework for behavioral health. Washington, District of Columbia: American Psychological Association.
Abraham Lincoln has the reputation of being the key person in ending slavery in our country. Yet it appears that Lincoln held racist beliefs, as indicated in the following ex-cerpt from a speech he delivered in 1858:I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurorsde of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to inter-marry with white people . . . and in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
234Understanding Human Behavior and the Social EnvironmentSuch a statement needs to be viewed in its historical context. Our country was more racist years ago than it is today. Lincoln, who was in the vanguard of moving for greater equality for African Americans, was also socialized by his culture to have racist attitudes. (The impact of culture on individuals was discussed in Chapter 1.)A PerspectiveNearly every time we turn on the evening news, we see ethnic and racial conflict—riots, beatings, murders, and civil wars. In recent years we have seen clashes resulting in bloody shed in areas ranging from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Syria to Israel, and from the United States to South America. Practically every nation with more than one ethnic group has had to deal with ethnic conflict. The oppression and exploitation of one ethnic group by another is particularly ironic in democratic nations, considering these societies claim to cherish freedom, equality, and justice. In reality, the dominant group in all societ-ies that controls the political and economic institutions rarely agrees to share equally its power and wealth with other ethnic groups. Ethnocentrism and racism are factors that can adversely affect the growth and development of minority group members.Learning ObjectivesThis chapter will help prepare students toLO 1Define and describe ethnic groups, ethnocentrism, race, racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and institutional discriminationLO 2Outline the sources of prejudice and discriminationLO 3Summarize the effects and costs of discrimination and oppres-sion and describe effects of discrimination on human growth and developmentLO 4Suggest strategies for advancing social and economic justiceLO 5Outline some guidelines for social work practice with racial and ethnic groupsLO 6Forecast the pattern of race and ethnic relations in the United States in the futureEP 2aEP 2bEP 2cEP 3aEP 3bLO 1 Define and Describe Ethnic Groups, Ethnocentrism, Race, Racism, Prejudice, Discrimination, Oppression, and Institutional DiscriminationEthnic Groups and EthnocentrismAn ethnic group has a sense of togetherness, a con-viction that its members form a special group, and a sense of common identity or “peoplehood.” An ethnic groupis a distinct group of people who share cultural characteristics, such as religion, language, dietary practices, national origin, and a common history, and who regard themselves as a distinct group.Practically every ethnic group has a strong feel-ing of ethnocentrism,which is characterized or based on the belief that one’s own group is superior. Ethnocentrism leads members of ethnic groups to view their culture as the best, as superior, as the one that other cultures should adopt. Ethnocen-trism also leads to prejudice against foreigners, who Ethnocentrism and Racism235may be viewed as barbarians, uncultured people, or savages.Feelings of ethnic superiority within a nation are usually accompanied by the belief that political and economic domination by one’s own group is natural, is morally right, is in the best interest of the nation, and perhaps also is God’s will. Ethnocentrism has been a factor leading to some of the worst atroci-ties in history, such as the American colonists’ nearly successful attempt to exterminate Native Americans and Adolf Hitler’s mass executions of more than 6 million European Jews, and millions more gypsies, people with disabilities, and other minority group members.In interactions between nations, ethnocentric be-liefs sometimes lead to wars and serve as justifica-tions for foreign conquests. At practically any point in the last several centuries, at least a few wars have occurred between nations in which one society has been seeking to force its culture on another or to eradicate another culture (including genocide). For example, Israel has been involved in bitter struggles with Arab countries in the Middle East for more than four decades over territory ownership. Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds are fighting for domination in Iraq and Syria.Spotlight 5.1 details some of the violence against minorities that has taken place in U.S. history.Race and RacismAlthough a racial group is often also an ethnic group, the two groups are not necessarily the same. A raceis believed to have a common set of physi-cal characteristics. But the members of a racial group may or may not share the sense of together-ness or identity that holds an ethnic group together. A group that is both a racial group and an ethnic group is Japanese Americans, who have some com-mon physical characteristics and also have a sense of peoplehood (Coleman & Cressey, 1984). On the other hand, white Americans and white Russians are of the same race, but they hardly have a sense of to-getherness. In addition, some ethnic groups are com-posed of a variety of races. For example, a religious group (such as Roman Catholic) is sometimes con-sidered an ethnic group and is composed of mem-bers from diverse racial groups.In contrast to ethnocentrism, racism is more likely to be based on physical differences than on cultural differences. Racismis the belief that race is the primary determinant of human capacities and traits and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Racism is frequently a basis of discrimination against members of other “racial” groups.Similar to ethnocentric ideologies, most racist ide-ologists assert that members of other racial groups are inferior. Some white Americans in this country have gone to extreme and morally reprehensible lim-its in search of greater control236Understanding Human Behavior and the Social EnvironmentViolence against minorities in the United statesMinorities have been subjected to extensive violence by whites in our society. Although a number of whites have been subjected to violence by nonwhites, statistics show disproportionate attacks against minorities. The 2015 FBI Hate Crime Statistics showed that of the reported 5,850 hate crime (although many are unreported), more than half targeted African Americans. In addition, hate crimes based on religion, specifically Jewish and Muslim-Americans, increased significantly.During the second half of the nineteenth century, frequent massacres of Chinese mining and railroad workers occurred in the West. During one railroad strike in 1885, white workers stormed a Chinese community in Rock Springs, Wyoming, murdered 16 persons, and burned all the homes to the ground. No one was arrested. In 1871, a white mob raided the Chinese community in Los Angeles, killing 19 persons and hanging 15 to serve as a warning to survivors (Pinkney, 1972).Pinkney (1972) comments on the treatment of African American slaves by their white owners:Few adult slaves escaped some form of sadism at the hands of slaveholders. A female slaveholder was widely known to punish her slaves by beating them on the face. Another burned her slave girl on the neck with hot tongs. A drunken slaveholder dismembered his slave, and threw him piece by piece into a fire. Another planter dragged his slave from bed and inflicted a thousand lashes on him. (p. 73)Slaveowners often used a whip made of cow skin or rawhide to control their slaves. An elaborate punishment system was developed, linking the number of lashes to the seriousness of the offenses with which slaves were charged.Shortly before the Civil War, roving bands of whites commonly descended on African American communities and terrorized and beat the inhabitants. Slaves sometimes struck back and killed their slaveowners or other whites. It has been estimated that during Reconstruction, more than 5,000 African Americans were killed in the South by white vigilante groups (Pinkney, 1972).Following the Civil War, lynching of African Americans increased and continued into the 1950s. African Americans were lynched for such minor offenses as peeping into a window, attempting to vote, making offensive remarks, seeking employment in a restaurant, getting into a dispute with a white person, and expressing sympathy for another African American who had already been lynched. Arrests for lynching African Americans were rare. Lynch mobs included not only men but sometimes also women and children. Some lynchings were publicly announced, and the public was invited to participate. The public often appeared to enjoy the activities and urged the active lynchers on to greater brutality.Race riots between whites and African Americans have also been common since the Civil War. During the summer of 1919, for example, 26 major race riots occurred, the most serious of which was in Chicago. In this riot, which lasted from July 27 to August 2, a total of 38 persons were killed, 537 were injured, and more than 1,000 were left homeless (Waskow, 1967).Native Americans have been subjected to kidnapping, massacre, conquest, forced assimilation, and murder. Some tribes were completely exterminated. The treatment of Native Americans by whites in North America stands as one of the most revolting series of acts of violence in history.The extermination of Native Americans began with the early Pilgrims. They were the first to establish a policy to massacre and exterminate Native Americans in this country. In 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Puritans sent a force to massacre the Pequot, a division of the Mohegau tribe. The dwellings were burned, and 600 inhabitants were slaughtered (Pinkney, 1972).In 1642, the governor of New Netherlands began offering bounties for Native American scalps. A year later, this same governor ordered the massacre of the Wappinger tribe. Pinkney (1972) describes the massacre:During the massacre infants were taken from their mother’s breast, cut in pieces and thrown into a fire or into the river. Some children who were still alive were also thrown into the river, and when their parents attempted to save them they drowned along with their children. When the massacre was over, the members of the murder party were congratulated by the grateful governor. (p. 96)A major motive for this violence was that the European settlers were land-hungry. The deliberate massacre and extermination of Native Americans continued from the 1660s throughout most of the 1800s. The whites frequently made and broke treaties with Native Americans during these years—and ended up taking most of their land and sharply reducing their population. For example, in a forced march on foot covering several states, an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died from cold and exhaustion in 1838 (Pinkney, 1972). During these years, Native Americans were considered savage beasts. Many whites felt, “The only good Indian is a dead one,” and they exterminated Native Americans because it was felt they impeded economic progress.Today, racial clashes between minority group members still occur, but on a smaller scale on the street and in some of our schools. In recent years, organizations that advocate white supremacy (such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and Skinheads) have continued to attract new members. Demonstrations by these organizations have led to several bloody clashes between supporters and those opposed to these racist groups.SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSITY 5.1(continued and power over other racial groups
Ethnocentrism and Racism237SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSITY 5.1(continued)Throughout U.S. history, there have also been incidents of police brutality by white officers against members of minority groups. For example, police brutality received national attention in 1991 when an African American motorist, Rodney King, was stopped after a lengthy car chase and beaten by four club-wielding white police officers in Los Angeles. The beatings were videotaped by a bystander. Mr. King received more than 50 blows from clubs and sustained 11 fractures in his skull, a broken ankle, and a number of other injuries. In April 1992, a jury (with no African American members) found the police officers not guilty on charges of using excessive force. The reaction of African Americans and others in Los Angeles has been described as the worst civil unrest in more than a century—nearly 60 people were killed and more than $800 million in damage resulted from rioting, looting, and destruction over a period of three days.On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. The shooting prompted protests that lasted for weeks. On Nov. 24, the St. Louis county prosecutor announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Officer Wilson. The announcement set off another wave of protests. In March 2015, the U.S. Justice Department ordered that the city of Ferguson overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in constitutional violations. Unfortunately, this has not stopped unarmed black men from being shot by police officers. Unarmed black men continue to be shot at disproportionate rates.In 2015, the United States also saw an increase in crimes against Muslims, including burning of mosques and harassment (see Discrimination Against Arab Americans and American Muslims, later in this chapter). There was a 67 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes from 2014 to 2015, the highest since the terrorist attacks in 2001. With fears of more terrorist attacks in the United States and increasing Islamophobia, fueled in some political environments, these numbers are not expected to decrease.Aspects of Social and Economic Forces: Prejudice, Discrimination, and OppressionPrejudiceis a preconceived adverse opinion or judg-ment formed without just grounds or before suf-ficient knowledge. Prejudice, in regard to race and ethnic relations, is making negative prejudgments. Prejudiced people apply racial stereotypes to all or nearly all members of a group according to precon-ceived notions of what they believe the group to be like and how they think the group will behave. Racial prejudice results from the belief that people who have different skin color and other physical char-acteristics also have innate differences in behaviors, values, intellectual functioning, and attitudes.The word discriminationhas two very different meanings. It may have the positive meaning of the power of making fine distinctions between two or more ideas, objects, situations, or stimuli. However, in minority-group relations it is the unfair treatment of a person, racial group, or minority; it is an action based on prejudice.Racial or ethnic discrimination involves denying to members of minority groups equal access to op-portunities, residential housing areas, membership in religious and social organizations, involvement in political activities, access to community services, and so on.Prejudice is a combination of stereotyped beliefs and negative attitudes, so that prejudiced individu-als think about people in a predetermined, usually negative, categorical way. Discrimination involves physical actions—unequal treatment of people be-cause they belong to a category. Discriminatory behavior often derives from prejudiced attitudes. Robert Merton, however, notes that prejudice and discrimination can occur independently. In discuss-ing discrimination in the United States, he describes four different “types” of people:1.The unprejudiced nondiscriminator,in both belief and practice, upholds American ideals of free-dom and equality. This person is not prejudiced against other groups and, on principle, will not discriminate against them.2.The unprejudiced discriminator is not personally prejudiced but may sometimes, reluctantly, dis-criminate against other groups because it seems socially or financially convenient to do so.3.The prejudiced nondiscriminator feels hostile to other groups but recognizes that law and social pressures are opposed to overt discrimination.
238Understanding Human Behavior and the Social EnvironmentReluctantly, this person does not translate preju-dice into action.4.The prejudiced discriminator does not believe in the values of freedom and equality and consis-tently discriminates against other groups in both word and deed.An example of an unprejudiced discriminator is the unprejudiced owner of a condominium complex in an all-white middle-class suburb who refuses to sell a condominium to an African American family because of fear (founded or unfounded) that the sale would reduce the sale value of the remaining units. An example of a prejudiced nondiscriminator is a personnel director of a fire department who believes Mexican Americans are unreliable and poor fire-fighters yet complies with affirmative action efforts to hire and train Mexican American firefighters.It is very difficult to keep personal prejudices from eventually leading to some form of discrimina-tion. Strong laws and firm informal social norms are necessary to break the relationships between preju-dice and discrimination.Discrimination is of two types. De jure discrimina-tionis legal discrimination. The so-called Jim Crow laws in the South (enacted shortly after the Civil War ended) gave force of law to many discrimina-tory practices against African Americans, including denial of the right to trial, prohibition against vot-ing, and prohibition against interracial marriage. To-day, in the United States, there is no de jure racial discrimination because such laws have been declared unconstitutional.De facto discriminationrefers to discrimination that actually exists, whether legal or not. Most acts of de facto discrimination abide by powerful in-formal norms that are discriminatory. Cummings (1977) gives an example of this type of discrimina-tion and urges victims to confront it assertively:Scene: department store. Incident: several people are waiting their turn at a counter. The person next to be served is a black woman; however, the clerk waits on several white customers who arrived later. The black woman finally demands service, after several polite gestures to call the clerk’s attention to her. The clerk proceeds to wait on her after stating, “I did not see you.” The clerk is very discourteous to the black customer, and the lack of courtesy is apparent, because the black customer had the opportunity to observe treatment of the other customers. De facto discrimination is most frustrating . . .; [after all, say some] the customer was served. Most people would rather just forget the whole incident, but it is important to challenge the practice even though it will possibly put you through more agony. One of the best ways to deal with this type of discrimination is to report it to the manager of the business. If it is at all possible, it is important to involve the clerk in the discussion. (p. 200)Oppression is the unjust or cruel exercise of au-thority or power. Members of minority groups in our society are frequently victimized by oppression from segments of the white power structure. Op-pression and discrimination are closely related, as all acts of oppression are also acts of discrimination. Oppression is the social act of placing severe restric-tions on a group or institution.Racial and Ethnic StereotypesStereotypesare generalizations, or assumptions, that people make about the characteristics of all mem-bers of a group, based on an image (often wrong) about what people in a group are like.Racial and ethnic stereotypes involve attribut-ing a fixed and usually inaccurate or unfavorable conception to a racial or ethnic group. Stereotypes are closely related to the way we think, as we seek to perceive and understand things in categories. We need categories to group things that are similar in order to study them and to communicate about them. We have stereotypes about many categories, including mothers, fathers, teenagers, communists, Republicans, schoolteachers, farmers, construction workers, miners, politicians, Mormons, and Italians. These stereotypes may contain some useful and ac-curate information about a member in any category. Yet each member of any category will have many characteristics that are not suggested by the stereo-types and is apt to have some characteristics that run counter to some of the stereotypes.Racial stereotypes involve differentiating people in terms of color or other physical characteristics. For example, historically there was the erroneous ste-reotype that Native Americans become easily intoxi-cated and irrational when using alcohol. This belief was then translated into laws that prohibited Native Americans from buying and consuming alcohol. A more recent stereotype is that African Americans Copyright 2019 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. 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have a natural ability to play basketball and certain other sports. Although at first glance, such a stereo-type appears complimentary to African Americans, it has broader, negative implications. The danger is that if people believe the stereotype, they may also feel that other abilities and capacities (such as intelli-gence, morals, and work productivity) are also deter-mined by race. In other words, believing this positive stereotype increases the probability that people will also believe negative stereotypes.Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Is the Problem of WhitesMyrdal (1944) pointed out that minority problems are actually majority problems. The white majority determines the place of nonwhites and other ethnic groups in our society. The status of different mi-nority groups varies in our society because whites apply different stereotypes to various groups. For example, African Americans are viewed and treated differently from Japanese Americans. E. H. Johnson (1973) noted, “Minority relationships become recog-nized by the majority as a social problem when the members of the majority disagree as to whether the subjugation of the minority is socially desirable or in the ultimate interest of the majority” (p. 344). Con-cern about discrimination and segregation has also received increasing national attention because of a rising level of aspiration among minority groups who demand (sometimes militantly) equal opportu-nities and equal rights.Our country was founded on the principle of hu-man equality. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution assert equality, justice, and liberty for all. Yet in practice, our society has always dis-criminated against minorities.The groups of people who have been singled out for unequal treatment in our society have changed somewhat over the years. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people of Irish, Italian, and Polish descent were discriminated against, but that discrimination has been substantially reduced. In the nineteenth century, Americans of Chinese descent were severely discriminated against. However, such bias also has been declining for many decades. Because of 9/11, and terrorist activities by ISIS and Al Qaeda, some Arab Americans are now being victimized by dis-crimination in the United States (see Spotlight 5.2).White PrivilegeAn underexposed part of racism in the United States is that white people (and white men in particular) have privileges that other Americans do not have. Peggy McIntosh attempted to bring awareness to the unspo-ken privileges provided to white people by society. In her work, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” she identified unearned privileges granted to whites that are often “invisible” to whites them-selves, and which whites take for granted. Following is a list of some of these privileges (McIntosh, 1988):●White people can go shopping alone and be pretty well assured that they will not be followed or harassed.●White people have no problem finding housing to rent or purchase in an area they can afford and want to live in.●White people can feel assured that their children will be given curricular materials in school that testify to the existence of their race.●White people can go into any supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with their cultural traditions.●When white people use checks, credit cards, or cash, they can be sure that their skin color is not being taken into account when their financial reli-ability is questioned.●White people are never asked to speak for all white people.●White people can go into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut their hair.●White people in affluent neighborhoods are gen-erally confident that their neighbors will be neu-tral or pleasant to them.●White people can assume that police officers will provide protection and assistance.●White people can be sure that their race will not count against them if they need legal or medical help.This work was shared in workshops, conferences, and classrooms; however, some individuals are now questioning the benefits for whites in acknowledging their white privilege. It is believed that to truly address white privilege, whites should go beyond recognition of white privilege, instead becoming more active in addressing social inequality (Margolin, 2015).Hate CrimesHate crimes have been added to the penal codes in nearly every state in the United States. Hate crimes
240Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environmentdiscrimination against arab americans and american muslimsFollowing the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there have been a number of crimes against Arab Americans and American Muslims. These hate crimes have intensified in recent years in response to the terrorist activities of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Emert (2007) gives some examples:In Texas, a Pakistani Muslim storeowner was murdered. In California, an Egyptian Christian was killed. In a Chicago suburb, hundreds of men and women chanting, “USA, USA” marched on a local mosque and were stopped by police. In Brooklyn, an Islamic school was pelted with rocks and bloody pork chops (Muslims are forbidden to eat pork). Fire-bombings of mosques and Islamic centers occurred in Chicago, Seattle, Texas and New York. Mosques, Arab community centers, and Arab-owned businesses have been vandalized. Women and girls wearing the traditional Muslim head covering, the hijab, have been harassed and assaulted. As an example of this discrimination, Rev. Terry Jones, a Florida minister, announced in August 2010 that he was going to publicly burn a number of Qurans on the ninth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Rev. Jones said that he believes the Quran is evil because it espouses something other than biblical truth and because he (erroneously) believes it incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims. (After intense international opposition, Rev. Jones announced he was canceling the burning of Qurans.)Stereotypes abound of Arab Americans, and they are mostly negative. The Western images of Arabs are of Ali Baba, Sinbad, the thief of Baghdad, white slaveowners, harem dwellers, and sheiks. The facts are that harems and polygamy have been abolished, for the most part, in the Arab world, and only a small number of Arab nations have “sheiks.” Arabs are almost always portrayed on TV or in movies as evil or foolish. One Sesame Street character, always dressed like an Arab, is always the one that teaches negative words like “danger.” In movies, they’re often portrayed as villains or financial backers of espionage plots.It is important for all of us to remember what happened to Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Emert (2007) notes,After the unexpected attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, distrust, fear and anger against the 130,000 Japanese-Americans living in the United States at that time intensified, especially in California where an enemy invasion was anticipated. About 115,000 Japanese lived on the West Coast, and their presence was considered a security threat. Americans questioned the loyalty of these Japanese people even though 80,000 of them were second-generation, natural-born U.S. citizens. There was fear that these Japanese-Americans would resort to sabotage or treason to aid America’s enemies.Public leaders like the California Governor, Attorney General, and U.S. military commanders supported the idea of a mass evacuation of all Japanese from the West Coast. Beginning on March 22, 1942, approximately 110,000 Japanese were transported to 15 temporary assembly centers in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. Several months later, they were moved to 10 permanent relocation centres scattered throughout the country. These Japanese-Americans lost nearly everything they owned. They were forced to sell their homes and businesses at rock bottom prices. In September 2001, after 9/11, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution calling for the protection of the “civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab Americans and American Muslims” (Emert, 2007). Virtually all major Arab American organizations and American Muslim organizations have condemned the actions of Osama bin Laden’s militant fringe.Some factual information about Arab Americans and American Muslims may be useful. There are about 3 million Arab Americans in the United States, which is about 1 percent of the American population. There are 22 separate Arab nations (Schaefer, 2015).There’s no simple definition of who an “Arab” is. The word refers to those who speak the Arabic language, but almost every country’s version of Arabic is different from another’s (e.g., Jordanian Arabic is quite different from Algerian Arabic), and to make matters more complicated, several Arab countries have internal ethnic groups who speak a totally different form of Arabic or some non-Arabic language.American Muslims and Arab Americans are different groups in the United States. There is some overlap between, these two groups, with some American Muslims being of Arab ancestry. Most Arab Americans are not Muslim, however, and most Muslim Americans are not of Arab background. Many Arab Americans are Christians, some are Hindu, and a few are agnostics or atheists. Arab Americans are an ethnic group, and Muslims are a religious group.Islam, with approximately 1.6 million followers worldwide, is second to Christianity among the world’s religions (Schaefer, 2015). Schaefer notes that Christianity and Islam are faiths that are very similar:Both are monotheistic (i.e., based on a single deity) and indeed worship the same God. Allah is the Arabic word for God and refers to the God of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Both Christianity and Islam include a belief in prophets, an afterlife, and a judgment day. In fact, Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet, though not the son of God. Islam reveres both the Old and New SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSITY 5.2(continued
Ethnocentrism and Racism2 41Testaments as integral parts of its tradition. Both faiths impose a moral code on believers, which varies from fairly rigid proscriptions for fundamentalists to relatively relaxed guidelines for liberals. (p. 246)(Christianity and Islam are described more fully in Chapter 15.)As to the ethnic background of American Muslims in the United States, Schaefer (2015, p. 249) gives the following estimates:Based on the most recent studies, there are at least 2.6 million and perhaps as many as 3 million Muslims in the United States. About two-thirds are U.S.-born citizens. In terms of ethnic and racial background, the more acceptable estimates still vary widely. Estimates range as follows:●20–42 percent African American,●24–33 percent South Asian (Afghan, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani),●12–32 percent Arab, and●15–22 percent “other” (Bosnian, Iranian, Turk, and White and Hispanic converts). (p. 249)SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSITY 5.2(continued)are violent acts aimed at individuals or groups of a particular race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orien-tation, or gender. The laws also make it a crime to vandalize religious buildings and cemeteries or to in-timidate another person out of bias.Examples of hate crimes include setting African American churches on fire, defacing a Jewish fam-ily’s home with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti, assaulting a gay college student, burning a cross on the lawn of an African American family, and van-dalism against Arab Americans. With hate crimes, judges can impose a higher sentence when they find that a crime was committed with a biased motive.Race Is a Social ConceptAshley Montague (1964) considered the concept of race to be one of the most dangerous and tragic myths in our society. Race is erroneously believed by many to be a biological classification of people. Yet, surprisingly to some, there are no clearly delineating characteristics of any race. Throughout history, the genes of different societies and racial groups have occasionally been intermingled. No racial group has any unique or distinctive genes. In addition, biologi-cal differentiations of racial groups have gradually been diluted through various sociocultural factors. These factors include changes in preferences of de-sirable characteristics in mates, effects of different diets on those who reproduce, and such variables as wars and diseases in selecting those who will live to reproduce (Johnson, 1973).Despite definitional problems, it is necessary to use racial categories in the social sciences. Race has important (though not necessarily consistent) social meanings for people. In order to have a basis for racial classifications, social scientists have used a social, rather than a biological, definition. A social definition is based on the way in which members of a society clas-sify each other by physical characteristics. For exam-ple, a frequently used social definition of an African American is anyone who either displays overt African American physical characteristics or is known to have an African American ancestor (Schaefer, 2015).A social definitional approach to classifying races sometimes results in different societies’ use of differ-ent definitions of race.For example, in the United States anyone who is known to have an African American ancestor is considered to be African American; in Brazil, anyone known to have a white ancestor is considered to be white (Schaefer, 2015).Ethical Question 5.1EP 1Do you believe that some ethnic groups are more intelligent than other ethnic groups?Race, according to Montague (1964), becomes a dangerous myth when people assume that physi-cal traits are linked with mental traits and cultural achievements. Every few years, it seems, some noted scientist stirs the country by making this erroneous as-sumption. For example, Herrnstein and Murray (1994)
242Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environmentassert that whites, on the average, are more intelli-gent, because IQ tests show that whites average scores of 10 to 15 points higher than African Americans. Herrnstein and Murray’s findings have been sharply criticized by other authorities as falsely assuming that IQ is largely genetically determined (Lefrancois, 1996). These authorities contend that IQ is substantially influenced by environmental factors, and it is likely that the average achievement of African Americans, if given similar opportunities to realize their potenti-alities, would be the same as whites. Also, it has been charged that IQ tests are racially slanted. The tests ask the kinds of questions that whites are more familiar with and thereby more apt to answer correctly.Johnson (1973) summarizes the need for an im-partial, objective view of the capacity of different racial groups to achieve:Race bigots contend that, the cultural achievements of different races being so obviously unlike, it follows that their genetic capacities for achievements must be just as different. Nobody can discover the cultural capacities of any population or race . . . until there is equality of opportunities to demonstrate the capacities. (p. 50)Most scientists, both physical and social, now be-lieve that in biological inheritance all races are alike in everything that really makes any difference (such as problem-solving capacities, altruistic tendencies, and communication capacities). With the exception of several very small, inbred, isolated, primitive tribes, all racial groups appear to show a wide distribution of every kind of ability. Any important race differ-ences that have been noted in personality, behavior, and achievement (e.g., high school graduation rates) appear to be due primarily to environmental factors.Many Americans classify themselves as “mixed-race” or “multiracial,” as they have parents of different races. Tiger Woods (a noted golfer), for example, has a multiracial background, with a Caucasian, African American, Native American, and Asian heritage.Institutional Values and Racism: Discrimination in SystemsIn the last four decades, institutional racism has be-come recognized as a major problem. Institutional racismrefers to discriminatory acts and policies against a racial group that pervade the major macro systems of society, including the legal, political, economic, and educational systems. Some of these discriminatory acts and policies are illegal, whereas others are not.Institutional racism can best be understood through a systems perspective on discrimination. Institutional values form the foundation for macro-system poli-cies. These policies are enacted in organizations and communities. Here, we refer to institutional racism as a prevailing orientation demonstrated in policies and procedures throughout our entire culture. It is an all-encompassing term that envelopes institutional values, communities, and organizational macro systems.In contrast to institutional racism is individual racism,which Barker (2003) defines as “the nega-tive attitudes one person has about all members of a racial or ethnic group, often resulting in overt acts such as name-calling, social exclusion, or violence” (p. 215). Carmichael and Hamilton (1967) make the following distinction between individual racism and institutional racism:When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of society. But when in the same city . . . five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter, and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally, and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. (p. 4)Discrimination and Oppression in Organizational Macro SystemsInstitutional discriminationis the unfair treatment of an individual that is due to the established operat-ing procedures, policies, laws, or objectives of large organizations (such as governments, corporations, schools, police departments, and banks).Discrimination is built, often unwittingly, into the very structure and form of our society. It is demon-strated by how organizational macro systems treat clients. The following examples reflect how agencies can engage in institutional discrimination:●A family counseling agency with branch offices assigns its less skilled counselors and thereby pro-vides lower-quality services to an office located in a minority neighborhood
A human services agency encourages white ap-plicants to request funds for special needs (e.g., clothing) or to use certain services (e.g., day care and homemaker services), whereas nonwhite cli-ents are not informed (or are less enthusiastically informed) of such services.●A human services agency takes longer to process the requests of nonwhite for funds and services.●A police department discriminates against non-white staff in terms of work assignments, hiring practices, promotion practices, and pay increases.●A real estate agency has a pattern of showing white homebuyers houses in white neighbor-hoods and African American homebuyers houses in mixed or predominantly African American areas.●A bank and an insurance company engage in so-called red-lining, which involves refusing to make loans or issue insurance in areas with large minor-ity populations.●A probation and parole agency tends to ignore minor rule violations by white clients but seeks to return nonwhite parolees to prison for similar infractions.●A mental health agency tends to label nonwhite clients “psychotic” while ascribing a less serious disorder to white clients.●White staff at a family counseling center are encouraged by the executive board to provide intensive services to clients with whom they have a good relationship and are told to give less attention to clients “they aren’t hitting it off well with,” resulting in fewer services provided to nonwhite clients.Whether these differences in treatment are under-taken consciously or not, they nevertheless represent institutional discrimination.Discrimination and Oppression in Community Macro SystemsInstitutional racism also pervades community life. It is a contributing factor to the following: The unem-ployment rate for nonwhites has consistently been more than twice that for whites. The infant mortal-ity rate for nonwhites is nearly twice as high as for whites. The life expectancy for nonwhites is several years less than for whites. The average number of years of educational achievement for nonwhites is considerably less than for whites (Schaefer, 2015).Many examples of institutional racism are found in the educational macro system. Schools in white neighborhoods generally have better facilities and more highly trained teachers than do those in mi-nority neighborhoods. Minority families are, on the average, less able to provide the hidden costs of free education (higher property taxes, transportation, class trips, clothing, and supplies); as a result, their children become less involved in the educational process. History texts in the past concentrated on achievements of white people and gave scant atten-tion to minorities. J. Henry (1967) wrote in the 1960s about the effects of such history on Native American children:What is the effect upon the student, when he learns that one race, and one alone, is the most, the best, the greatest; when he learns that Indians were mere parts of the landscape and wilderness which had to be cleared out, to make way for the great “movement” of white population across the land; and when he learns that Indians were killed and forcibly removed from their ancient homelands to make way for adventurers (usually called “pioneering gold miners”), for land grabbers (usually called “settlers”), and for illegal squatters on Indian-owned land (usually called “frontiersmen”)? What is the effect upon the young Indian child himself, who is also a student in the school system, when he is told that Columbus discovered America, that Coronado “brought civilization” to the Indian people, and that the Spanish missionaries provided havens of refuge for the Indians? Is it reasonable to assume that the student, of whatever race, will not discover at some time in his life that Indians discovered America thousands of years before Columbus set out upon his voyage; that Coronado brought death and destruction to the native peoples; and that the Spanish missionaries, in all too many cases, forcibly dragged Indians to the missions? (p. 22)Since the 1960s and the civil rights movement, the true story of minorities and their experiences are be-ing better told.Our criminal justice macro system also has ele-ments of institutional racism. Our justice system is supposed to be fair and nondiscriminatory. The very name of the system, justice,implies fairness and quality. Yet, in practice, racism is evident. Although African Americans compose only about 13 percent
244Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environmentof the population, they make up about 50 percent of the prison population (Schaefer, 2015). (There is considerable debate as to what extent this is due to racism as opposed to differential crime rates by race.) The average prison sentence for murder and kidnap-ping is longer for African Americans than for whites. Nearly half of those sentenced to death are African American (Schaefer, 2015). Police departments and district attorneys’ offices are more likely to enforce vigorously the kinds of laws broken by lower-income groups and minority groups than by middle- and up-per-class white groups. Poor people are substantially less likely to be able to post bail. As a result, they are forced to remain in jail until their trial, which often takes months or sometimes more than a year. Un-able to afford a well-financed defense (including the fees charged by the most successful criminal defense teams), they are more likely to be found guilty.LO 2 Outline the Sources of Prejudice and DiscriminationSources of Prejudice and DiscriminationNo single theory provides a complete picture of why racial and ethnic discrimination occur. By being ex-posed to a variety of theories, social workers should at least be better sensitized to the nature and sources of discrimination. The sources of discrimination come from inside and outside a person.ProjectionProjectionis a psychological defense mechanism in which one attributes to others characteristics that one is unwilling to recognize in oneself. Many people have personal traits they dislike in themselves. They desire to get rid of such traits, but this is not always possible. Such people may project some of these traits onto others (often to some other group in soci-ety), thus displacing the negative feelings they would otherwise direct at themselves. In the process, they then condemn those onto whom they have projected the traits.For example, a minority group may serve as a projection of a prejudiced person’s fears and lusts. People who view African Americans as lazy or preoccupied with sex may be projecting onto African Americans their own internal concerns about their industriousness or their sexual fantasies. While some whites view African Americans as promiscuous, his-torically it has generally been white men who forced African American women (particularly slaves) into sexual encounters. It appears many white males felt guilty about these sexual desires and adventures and dealt with their guilt by projecting their own lusts and sexual conduct onto African Americans.Frustration-AggressionAnother psychological need satisfied by discrimina-tion is the release of tension and frustration. All of us at times become frustrated when we are unable to achieve or obtain something we desire. Sometimes we strike back at the source of frustration, but many times direct retaliation is not possible. For example, we are reluctant to tell our employers what we think of them when we feel we are being treated unfairly because we fear repercussions.Some frustrated people displace their anger and aggression onto a scapegoat.The scapegoat may be a particular person or it may be a group of people. Similar to people who take out their job frustra-tions at home on their spouses or family pets, some prejudiced people vent their frustrations on minor-ity groups. (The term scapegoat derives from an ancient Hebrew ritual in which the goat was sym-bolically laden with the sins of the entire community and then chased into the wilderness. It “escaped,” hence the term scapegoat.The term was gradually broadened to apply to anyone who bears the blame for others.)Countering Insecurity and InferiorityStill another psychological need that may be satis-fied through discrimination is the desire to counter feelings of insecurity or inferiority. Some insecure people seek to feel better about themselves by put-ting down another group. They then can tell them-selves that they are better than these people.AuthoritarianismA classic work on the causes of prejudice is The Authoritarian Personality by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson, and Sanford (1950). Shortly
Ethnocentrism and Racism245after World War II, these researchers studied the psychological causes of the development of Euro-pean fascism and concluded that a distinct type of personality was associated with prejudice and intol-erance. The authoritarian personalityis inflexible and rigid and has a low tolerance for uncertainty. This type of personality has a great respect for author-ity figures and quickly submits to their will. Such a person highly values conventional behavior and feels threatened by unconventional behavior of oth-ers. In order to reduce this threat, such a personality labels unconventional people as being immature, in-ferior, or degenerate and thereby avoids any need to question his or her own beliefs and values. The au-thoritarian personality views members of minority groups as being unconventional, degrades them, and tends to express authoritarianism through prejudice and discrimination.HistoryHistorical explanations can also be given for prejudice. Kornblum and Julian (2012) note that the groups now viewed by white prejudiced persons as being second class are groups that have been either conquered, enslaved, or admitted into our soci-ety on a subordinate basis. For example, African Americans were imported as slaves during our co-lonial period and stripped of human dignity. Native Americans were conquered, and their culture was viewed as inferior. Mexican Americans were allowed to enter this country primarily to do seasonal, low-paid farm work.Competition and ExploitationOur society is highly competitive and materialistic. Individuals and groups compete daily with one an-other to acquire more of the available goods. These attempts to secure economic goods usually result in a struggle for resources and power. In our soci-ety, once whites achieved dominance, they then used (and still are using) their power to exploit nonwhites through cheap labor—for example, as sweatshop fac-tory laborers, migrant farmhands, maids, janitors, and bellhops.Members of the dominant group know they are treating the subordinate group as inferior and unequal. To justify such discrimination, they de-velop an ideology (set of beliefs) that their group is superior, and therefore that it is right and proper that they have more rights, goods, and so on. Some-times they assert that God selected their group to be dominant. At the same time, they assign inferior traits to the subordinate group and conclude that the minority needs and deserves less because it is bio-logically inferior. Throughout history in most soci-eties, the dominant group (which has greater power and wealth) has sought to maintain the status quo by keeping those who have the least in an inferior position.Socialization PatternsPrejudice is also a learned phenomenon and is trans-mitted from generation to generation through so-cialization processes. Our culture has stereotypes of what different minority group members “ought to be” and the ways they “ought to behave” in relation-ships with members of the majority group. These stereotypes provide norms against which a child learns to judge persons, things, and ideas. Prejudice, to some extent, is developed through the same pro-cesses by which we learn to be religious or patriotic, to appreciate and enjoy art, or to develop our value system. Prejudice, at least in certain segments in our society, is thus a facet of the normative system of our culture.Belief in the One True ReligionSome people are raised to believe that their religion is the one true religion—that they will go to heaven, while everyone who believes in a different religion is a heathen who will be eternally damned. A person with such a belief system comes to the conclusion that he or she is one of “God’s chosen few.” Feeling superior to others often leads a person to devalue them as “heathens” and then to treat them in an in-ferior way. Belief in the “one true religion” has led to numerous wars between societies, each of which thought its religion was superior. Such societies thought they were justified in spreading their chosen religion by any possible means, including by physi-cal force. This belief may be one of the most crucial determinants in developing an attitudinal system of racial prejudice. (It should be noted, as elaborated on later in this chapter and in Chapter 15, that re-ligion has a number of beneficial components for many people.)Copyright 2019 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. Due to electronic rights, some third party content m
246Understanding Human Behavior and the Social EnvironmentEthical Questions 5.2EP 1If a social worker believes his or her religion is the one true religion, can that social worker fully accept clients who are members of some other religious faith? If your answer is no, do you believe that person should seek a different career?White SupremacyWhite supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used to describe a political ideology that advocates the so-cial and political dominance of whites. The belief in white supremacy has frequently been a factor that has led whites to discriminate against people of color.White supremacy was a dominant belief in the United States before the American Civil War and for decades after Reconstruction. In some parts of the United States, many people who were considered non-white were disenfranchised, and barred from holding most government jobs well into the second half of the twentieth century. Many U.S. states banned in-terracial marriage through anti-miscegenation laws until 1967, when these laws were declared unconstitu-tional. White lenders often viewed Native Americans, Chinese Americans, and other people of color as in-ferior. Bradley (2009) notes that most U.S. presidents who were in office prior to the twentieth century (and in the early twentieth century) believed in white supremacy—one of those presidents was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln believed that whites and blacks could not coexist in the same nation. He promoted his idea of colonization—that is, resettling blacks in foreign countries. He urged blacks be resettled in Central America, because of the similarity of climate conditions to Africa (Magness & Page, 2011).White supremacy was also a dominant belief in many other countries, as in South Africa under apartheid. The Ku Klux Klan still advocates and as-serts white supremacy.Evaluation of Discrimination TheoriesNo single theory explains all causes of prejudices be-cause prejudices have many origins. Taken together, however, they identify a number of causative fac-tors. All theories assert that the causative factors of prejudice are in the personality and experiences of the person holding the prejudice, and not in the character of the group against whom the prejudice is directed.A novel experiment documenting that prejudice does not stem from contact with the people to-ward whom prejudice is directed was conducted by Eugene Hartley (1946). Hartley gave his subjects a list of prejudiced responses to Jews and African Americans and to three groups that did not even exist: Wallonians, Pireneans, and Danireans. Preju-diced responses included such statements as, “All Wallonians living here should be expelled.” The re-spondents were asked to state their agreement or disagreement with these prejudiced statements. The experiment showed that most of those who were prejudiced against Jews and African Americans were also prejudiced against people whom they had never met or heard about.Closely related to the theories about the sources of racial and ethnic prejudice and discrimination is the conceptualization that compares racist think-ing to criminal thinking. Spotlight 5.3 explores the question “Is racial discrimination based on criminal thinking?”LO 3 Summarize the Effects and Costs of Discrimination and Oppression and Describe the Effects of Discrimination on Human Growth and DevelopmentImpacts of Social and Economic Forces: The Effects and Costs of Discrimination and OppressionRacial discrimination is a barrier in our competitive society to obtaining the necessary resources to lead a contented and comfortable life. Being discriminated against due to race makes it more difficult to obtain adequate housing, financial resources, a quality edu-cation, employment, adequate health care and other services, equal justice in civil and criminal cases, and so on