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American Race and Gender Schemas

American Race and Gender Schemas

Chapter:
(p.33) 3 American Race and Gender Schemas
Source:
Dangerous Frames
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226902388.003.0003

This chapter turns to the nature of Americans' race and gender schemas. It argues that the race and gender schemas depend on popular ideologies of race and gender. A long line of psychological research makes clear that humans have some basic cognitive machinery for making sense of social groups. Social identity theory argues that we develop our sense of self in terms of the groups to which we belong and in contrast to the groups to which we do not. The mere fact of categorization triggers a psychological process of differentiation that leads people to identify with and feel warmly toward the in-group and perceive the out-group negatively. The social meanings of race and gender (and of other dimensions of social categorization) go well beyond simply valuing the in-group and derogating the out-group. Rather, these dimensions of social categorization give rise to broad intergroup ideologies. These ideologies are elaborated stories that explain, justify, and normalize the social relations among groups.

Keywords:   race, gender, schemas, social groups, social identity, social categorization, intergroup ideologies, social relations, in-group, out-group

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