who are the most prejudiced and the most likely to act in prejudicial
ways are also the most concerned about the opinions of the authority figures
within their environment. While we all pay attention when those who might
be able to threaten us are speaking, this is a stronger characteristic
of those who are highly prejudiced.
of the habitual ways in which we see the world are prejudicial and were
learned before we were able to evaluate them or make decisions. To change
these ways of viewing others we need to not only become aware of these
reactions as prejudiced but we also need to practice new responses.
leader of the organization makes his/her personal opposition to prejudice
clear and overtly apparent. The leader supports activities which will
value difference and responds publicly to any overtly prejudiced acts
as an attack upon the organization as a total. The leader uses the "bully
pulpit" to reduce prejudices and increase theacceptance for differences.
is provided that will increase the participants' awareness of the dynamics
of prejudice, increase their exposure to those they might be prejudiced
toward and provide them with methods to use in an ongoing approach to
their own prejudice reduction. This training cannot function effectively
without the support of
the leadership within the organization.
approach is most effective with those who are intentionally prejudiced
because of their heightened sensitivity to authority figures. The methods
used do not require the involvement or consent of those who are most effected
approach will heighten the awareness of, and the reduction of, unintentional
prejudices which are the most widely used and the most overall damaging
to society. These methods are able to reduce prejudices that are not measurable
or easily observable.
method does not approach the most widely practiced form of prejudices,
the unintentional prejudicial responses. While this approach alone may
not result in lasting changes it may make possible other activities which
will have lastingeffects.
this method may have negative effects on the most actively prejudiced
individuals and may cause or encourage prejudicial behavior from them.
This problem can be avoided by not requiring participation in this training.
the overall population this approach is safe and highly effective. It
has a built-in targeting dynamic because those who are most overtly prejudiced
are also most sensitive to the positions of leaders on prejudice related
the majority of us who are aware at some level of our own prejudices and
who hold values that are non-prejudicial, this treatment is the most effective.
the April 1993 issue of Training and Development, John Dovidio reported
some results of leadership behavior in reducing prejudices. In one corporation,
the CEO simply asked that his senior management discuss what they were
doing in the area of equal opportunity. That was all he did, and by the
next quarter there had been a significant increase in both the promotion
rate and the hiring rate of women and minorities. Dovidio also reported
in the same article that the
Army had only rarely promoted women and minorities at the same rate as
the overall rate of promotion. Since the goal was announced to promote
minorities and women at an equal rate to the overall promotion rate, it
has been met on a consistent basis.
an experimental group of female counselors had gone through a four-hour
"Culture Sensitivity Training" program, they received significantly
higher ratings from lower income black female clients on each of the
o Unconditional Regard
o Client Satisfaction
In addition to these ratings, the clients returned for more counseling
sessions than did the clients who saw counselors in the control group
(those who did not participate in the four-hour "Culture Sensitivity
Training" program). The two groups of counselors were not different
in level of experience or in the number of Blacks counselors within
This work was done by Priscilla Wade and Bianca Bernstein and published
in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in 1991, Vol. 38, No.1
These two approaches are not conflicting, but are complimentary
and mutually supportive. Doing training without overt administrative support
is difficult and much less effective. At the same time, an administrator who
repeatedly gives verbal support for the reduction of prejudices, yet never
supports programs or policies to reduce prejudices, will not have much credibility
and weaken the power of leadership approach. The most effective approach is
a coordinated combination of these two approaches using each where it is most
successful. The recognition that these two approaches are mutually supportive
is critical to the effectiveness of reducing prejudices. The training program
will get more hostile responses if the administrative support is not visible
and the leadership will soon look like a paper tiger if the leadership only
talks about reducing prejudices and does not actively support training programs.
There are many methods of approaching the reduction of prejudicial behavior.
These methods could be divided into many different approaches. What I have
attempted to show here is that we need to make divisions based upon the dynamics
of the disorder we call prejudice. While we do need to use the power of the
authority figure, which has a special capability with those who are the most
strongly prejudiced, we also need to use education for most people. These
two approaches are, I believe, very supportive of each other and either approach
without the other is severely weakened. Simply put, to fund a training program
and then withhold the authority figures open and overt support is poor
economics and poor management. For the authority figures within an organization
to delegate all the responsibility of prejudice reduction is to undermine
the program. This is especially true if the only authority figure who is speaking
up to reduce prejudices is a member of a group that has been traditionally
disenfranchised. It is most important that the authority figures who are not
members of the traditionally disenfranchised groups speak up because they
have, at this point, a great deal more leverage with those who are the most
prejudiced and this can not be delegated.
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