Posts Tagged ‘prejudice’

Allport’s model of Prejudice and Discrimination

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Prejudice and discrimination. How relevant is Gordon Allport’s model to America today? This short vlog, recorded from Manassas National Battlefield, scene of the first battle of the American Civil War, explores the relevance of this model in Trump’s America. How divided is the US at the moment, what is Trump doing to polarise these divisions (intentionally or not), and where is the US against Allport’s model? And finally, how does this relate to your own organisation?

Minority Report

Monday, August 30th, 2010

If you read my last post, you will know that we have been in the Netherlands. Whilst there we celebrated my daughter’s twentieth birthday during which we experienced a short – yet fascinating – example of social exclusion.

For her birthday we decided to go to a theme Park near where we were staying – Walibi World. You may have been there yourself. It used to be called Six Flags, but was then changed to Walibi World. Whilst the mascot for the Park is a Wallaby, the name is actually derived from the first two letters of three Belgian towns – Wavre, Limal and Bierges. Whilst you might justifiably ask “Why”, I’ll stop there as this has nothing to do with the rest of the tale.

We had been there for 3 or 4 hours and then a conversation started as to whether there we were getting more than our fair share of stares from other visitors. I hadn’t noticed it up to this point, but it was only a few minutes until I realised that the perception appeared accurate.  Working out why took a little longer, through a gradual process of elimination – but not too much longer. 

The fact my son and I were wearing shorts was quickly dispelled – there were a number of other people wearing shorts. His penchant for wearing odd socks was also considered and rejected – people weren’t really looking at his socks. It was my daughter. Or at least it was the fact that my daughter was wearing a dress.  We looked around for other people wearing dresses in the vicinity, but we couldn’t see anyone. In fact, we didn’t see anyone else in the next 2 hours wearing a dress – and we saw several hundred other female visitors.

We saw people nudge each other, point us out and talk about us. In fact, I had tried to illustrate to my children how this occurs within society a few years – I had walked around the Trafford Shopping Centre wearing very large plastic colourful earrings – but the effect here was far more noticeable than then.

 It was a very powerful example of how being slightly different can lead to sub-divisions within a group, and the absurd or innocuous reasons that this can occur. For anyone familiar with Gordon Allport’s Scale of Prejudice and Discrimination, we had reached the level of ‘Anti-locution’ very quickly.

Whilst I found the level of attention we were getting a little off-putting, once we understood why it was happening we found it amusing and it didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the day.

On one level , it amusingly reminded me of how unhelpful the term “smart casual” can be when inviting people to a learning event or similar – people like to be able to fit in with the rest of the group, and the subjective “smart casual” gives them virtually no help at all. Perhaps it is used by people unable or unwilling to make a helpful decision?

On another level, it also provided a stark reminder of how many people cannot just change their clothes and fit back in with everyone else, or the majority group. Such reminders are always helpful.