Psychological Self-Help

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White candidate significantly more often than a Black candidate, even when
the records are equivalent. Lastly, only 67% of Whites approve of interracial
dating and marriage, i.e. one third don’t approve.
Racism hurts Blacks…discrimination batters them in many ways…they get
poorer medical care, poorer education, less desirable jobs, less income,
poorer psychological treatment and so on because their skin is a little
different. No thinking person can put him or herself in those situations day in
and day after without being hurt—maybe ashamed, maybe angered, maybe
afraid, maybe insecure and feeling inferior, maybe deeply saddened, maybe
wondering if he or she is inferior, stupid, lazy, and unworthy…
New interesting research by Michael Inzlicht in Psychological Science (March,
2006) shows how coaches have been right all along: if an athlete gains
confidence, he or she plays better. Or the reverse, lacking confidence (I’ll
probably miss the basket; I’ll strike out; Oh, God, I really messed up last time
I had the ball) seriously impairs many players. The same is true for students,
says Dr. Inzlicht. Experiences that cast doubt on a student’s academic ability
quickly reduces their self-control when under stress of testing, writing a
paper, presenting in class, public speaking, etc. Stigmatized groups of people,
such as females told they are weak in math or Blacks who believe they can’t
do well on verbal tests, do poorly on related school tasks, even though the
SAT shows they have the ability. So, prejudice, negative stereotypes, and
psychological pressures result in less self-control, lower test scores, less
studying, poor class notes, distracting study conditions, less scheduling of
school work, etc. Therefore, these researchers believe teaching people about
stereotyping and the fact that intelligence and ability are changeable
characteristics helps remove the handicaps of prejudice. Talking openly,
rationally, and without rancor about prejudice (and about the victim’s reaction
to unfair but psychologically understandable discrimination) will hopefully
reduce the prejudiced group’s or person’s bias and increase everyone’s
What is the moral of the story? Dr. Tinsley-Jones says that responsible people
need to remain aware that racism is a serious threat to the mental health of
Blacks. We all need to take a stand against every act of racism and
discrimination, especially if we have social, economic, or political power.
Is intimacy a possible antidote to racial prejudice?
In chapter 5, a fantastic experiment is described
demonstrates how a fear can be learned by pairing a neutral stimulus (a small
light) with a very frightening experience (being unable to breath for one
minute). The amazing thing was that it took only one trial to learn this fear,
i.e. the fear response immediately started to occur to the light after one
pairing with fear and continued to occur every time the light came on. The
other amazing thing was that the fear reaction never extinguished, no matter
how often the little light was turned on. Ordinarily, the fear response to a
conditioned stimulus (light) will weaken if the light is presented over and over
again and nothing happens. But in this experiment the fear reaction to the
light never diminished much at all! They just stopped the experiment (and,
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