Language plays a critical role in every form of prejudice

Language and prejudice: Direct and moderated effects

From Journal of Language and Social Psychology   

In the ever-increasing globalization of the world, there has been a parallel increase in the amount of contact between members of different social groups, and thus, more opportunities than ever before for discrimination based on prejudice. Though it is clear that prejudice and language are related, these constructs have traditionally been treated as separate and distinct in psychology. This study examines empirical evidence and confirms that language is inextricably linked with every form of prejudice; be it explicit expressions, implicit transmission of beliefs, or the subtle distortion of perception. It transmits prejudice, reveals prejudiced beliefs, distorts perception, and can be the basis of prejudice or a tool for change. This paper reinforces the idea that the study of language adds value beyond that of a purely social psychological approach to prejudice.

Abstract

In the ever-increasing globalization of the world, there has been a parallel increase in the amount of contact between members of different social groups, and thus, more opportunities than ever before for discrimination based on prejudice. This article is premised on the belief that language plays a central role in prejudice. Taking as a base the 2007 Journal of Language and Social Psychology special issue on language and discrimination, this review examines empirical evidence linking language and prejudice. It offers a taxonomic classification using a modified version of an earlier model crossed with three causal hypotheses. From this review, it can be concluded that prejudice can have both an implicit and explicit effect on language and that language plays a critical role in every form of prejudice. This strongly suggests that not only are language and prejudice inextricably linked but also that the study of prejudice without a consideration of of language is incomplete.

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Article details
Collins, K., & Clement, R. (2012). Language and Prejudice: Direct and Moderated Effects Journal of Language and Social Psychology DOI: 10.1177/0261927X12446611

     
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