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Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice [Paperback]

Kristin J. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

10 Dec 2009
While overt prejudice is now much less prevalent than in decades past, subtle prejudice - prejudice that is inconspicuous, indirect, and often unconscious - continues to pervade our society. Laws do not protect against subtle prejudice and, because of its covert nature, it is difficult to observe and frequently goes undetected by both perpetrator and victim. Benign Bigotry uses a fresh format to examine subtle prejudice by addressing six commonly held cultural myths based on assumptions that appear harmless but actually foster discrimination: 'those people all look alike'; 'they must be guilty of something'; 'feminists are man-haters'; 'gays flaunt their sexuality'; 'I'm not a racist, I'm color-blind' and 'affirmative action is reverse racism'. Kristin J. Anderson skillfully relates each of these myths to real world events, emphasizes how errors in individual thinking can affect society at large, and suggests strategies for reducing prejudice in daily life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (10 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521702593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521702591
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,201,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Kristin Anderson frames serious social problems of prejudice and discrimination in a compelling, engaging manner through the systematic use of cutting-edge scientific research. Not only does she diagnose the problems, she also offers some possible cures leaving the reader with the optimism that things can continue to improve in our society. This book is a brilliant piece of scholarship that deserves to reach a wide audience.' Campbell Leaper, University of California, Santa Cruz

'Benign Bigotry is a very well-written, clear and readable book. It relates to important contemporary issues, such as discrimination based on race, gender and sexuality, which persist[s] in spite of extensive legislation … would be of interest to someone considering, or engaged in, postgraduate study in social psychology; but in addition, it could appeal to the intelligent lay person as well as to professionals such as teachers, human resource executives, lawyers, police, social workers and public administrators.' Social Psychological Review

Book Description

In a fresh format Benign Bigotry addresses commonly held cultural myths as the basis for examining subtle forms of racial, sexual, gender and religious bias. Kristin J. Anderson skilfully relates each myth to real world events, emphasizing how errors in individual thinking can affect society as a whole.

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4.0 out of 5 stars How prejudice works in the modern age 10 Aug 2010
By Di_Esel
This seems to have been intended as an academic book on prejudice but in fact I think it's very useful as an exposé of how prejudice persists in the modern age, in spite of anti-discrimination legislation and 'political correctness'. Anderson takes 6 of the types of statements that display prejudice of various kinds and reviews the research evidence which shows how these kinds of prejudice 'work' nowadays and how they can be combated. Chapter 6 should be required reading for anyone in a human resources function or indeed anyone responsible for decisions about hiring people. If you are interested in how prejudice works and how it can still function in an age when equality legislation is well established, read this book. And in case it's not clear, the title is intended to be 'ironic': there is no way in which the bigotry discussed is really 'benign'.

My criticisms would be that it is very American oriented and concentrates on three domains of prejudice only: race, gender and sexual orientation. There is nothing about prejudice on age or disability, for example. However, given that no one book can cover everything I think this is a very thought provoking and potentially useful book. To me it's a pity it wasn't 'packaged' more for the general public, rather than seemingly being aimed at an academic readership.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice 5 Jun 2010
By Corinne Grosenick - Published on
Our women's group read "Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice" by Dr. Kristin J. Anderson. We discussed the many groups often stereotyped by others. Following the author's chapter headings "Those people all look alike," "They must be guilty of something," "Feminists are man-haters, and "Gays flaunt their sexuality", for example, we did some deep soul-searching and found ourselves guilty. These myths are not so subtle and never benign. Dr. Anderson is positive in her approach, identifying the myths and encouraging everyone to exercise empathy toward stigmatized groups. This book could be used in a college course or by any person or group interested in exploring discrimination and prejudice in today's society.

Tags: Sociology/Psychology
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Examination of Multiple Forms of Bigotry 2 Aug 2013
By Stephen Trosty - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book offers and insightful examination into multiple forms of bigotry, including race, sexism and homophobia. It looks at the underlying reason for bigotry, many of which most people are not even aware of. It examines this issue from a social psychology perspective and is intended as an attempt to make people understand the reasons for various forms of bigotry. It does not preach to the reader nor is it judgmental. But it does look at the issue in an honest way.
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