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From an intensive week of broadcasting focusing on Milwaukee's inner core city within a city w A.J. the University of Wisconsin presents the final in a series of programs examining the problems people and conditions of our inner cities. Today Dr. Ernest Spizz assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers insight in the problem of prejudice. In a lecture in titled Let's look at prejudice. Whenever I stand in a beautiful setting like this behind this kind of lecture and I feel like pontificating or at least I feel like blessin somebody. But I want you to feel comfortable so I can assure you of that I'm not going to do either. The subject which I shall speak on today is one which is emotionally packed. You will hear people like Rap Brown on one side who
will make all kinds of ridiculous statements about the state of prejudice and discrimination in this country. Not only that but he makes some very flamboyant statements about. What should be done to rectify the situation. On the other hand you have people like Sheldon associated with the Klan the United Klan of America who will also make some statements about what can be done to ameliorate prejudice and discrimination in this country. It seems to me that these two individuals are talking about the same kinds of things but somewhere in between these two extremist. You have responsible people who are trying to do a variety of things to do something about discrimination and prejudice. And here I'm talking about the National Council of Christians and Jews. I'm talking about Martin Luther King and I'm also talking about Father grokking. Now there are two kinds of prejudice. One is called conforming prejudice and the
second is call crutch prejudice. Let me tell you what a conforming prejudiced person is. Here is a person who moves with the wind when he is in the south. He may express some very undesirable things about Negroes and about Jews and when he is in the north in a fairly liberal kind of setting he becomes more liberal. He becomes a conforming bigot when he is like this and this is a term that I'm going to use to describe the extremely prejudiced person. On the other hand you have a crutch because this individual is a pathological bigot. Sometimes he's subtle sometimes he's not so subtle. He is a person who wears a white sheets and who runs around the countryside in a broken down automobile shooting out all the people who look a little darker than the general Moto group in that community.
This is all the power also the person who jumps and some kind of automobile with his cronies and say let's go down to the ghetto and get one. Now I'm not describing all people who are bigoted as being Caucasians. I want to be quite clear on this because there is black bigotry and there is white bigotry and the kinds of things that I'm going to say include both these groups the black prejudiced person and the white prejudiced person. Now there are several kinds of ways that people express bigotry. Number one is anti locution. This is the person who sits around and he says I don't want to talk about it irritates me soul to think about all of those people out there marching and all of those people campaigning against the public schools and this type of thing. I don't want to think about it I don't want to talk about. And then you have a person who engages in an avoidance. This is a person who says it's
all right. Let them have their place. I just don't want to come in contact with them. Don't let them associate with me. The third kind of expression of prejudice is discrimination. This is the individual who says they should have their own institutions on the east side of town on the north side of town but never should we integrate the institutions in our community. And next we have the person who believes in physical attack. It is not enough for him to discriminate. He wants to destroy them he wants to hurt them. So he takes his bricks. He takes his bats. He takes his fist and he attacks the marchers the attacks those individuals who express some kind of humanity toward their fellow man. And lastly you have the extremists extremist the person who believes and exterminating all of those people whether they be jewels whether they be negroes. The only good one is a dead one. And you've heard that before.
Well what are the dimensions of prejudice. Let me start with some characteristics that have been gleaned from the literature over the past 15 to 20 years. First of all prejudice is generalized and it is not specific. When a person walks up to you and he says all I think you are right I like you. But if those negroes that I find so appalling. That person is really saying that I hate you and I hate negroes chill but it isn't crickets at this particular time to say that I hate jewels. It is not very popular to say that I hate Jews. The individual who walks up to you and he says to you that I think that Catholics are fine but those Protestants I cannot stand or just the reverse. I think the Protestants are fine but Catholics I cannot stand. This is a person who is expressing a kind of religious bigotry which can be generalized to include racial bigotry to a person who is religiously bigoted
is generally racially bigoted hostile a person who is prejudiced toward Negroes is typically prejudiced toward jewels and vice versa. And all of the kinds of minority groups. Let's deal with another dimension persons who are up but mobile tend to be less bigoted and prejudiced than individuals who are down with mobile. Here is a man who is earning fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year. He gets his salary increases and now he's earning $30000 a year he has moved from a $12000 home on one side of the town and he's now living on a $25000 home in another part of the town. There is little opportunity for this man as he moves up the educational and socio economic ladder to express bigotry and discrimination toward others. And as a consequence there is a tendency for him by all measure devices to show less bigotry and discrimination than those individuals
who seem to be downward mobile. Now we see this and stop at school children time and time again. The literature is quite clear on this that not only does the bigotry spread. Within the family grouping among adults but it also spreads to children. A father who loses his job. Many times he was working in a kind of factory setting and he blames Negroes or he blames Jews or he blames the power structure or he blames the government for his his misfortune. The children well begun to internalize this concept. And when you come to a public school situation or a private school situation these same kinds of attitudes will be express the same kind of bigotry a person who is moving downward on the socio economic scale has a tendency to choose scapegoats for his own misfortunes. And there is a tendency for him to blame his misfortunes on the east on the scapegoats that he has chosen. Now prejudice is
associated with low self concepts and dog witches. Bruno Bettelheim and Chicago all found this out a long time ago back in 1950 that people who are generally prejudice typically all the individuals who think that they are not worthy they have a very very low opinion of themselves. Now there have been individuals who have been working and governmental structures in this country who have had bigotry that was so extreme that they realized that they were going to lose their jobs if they continue to express it. And many supervisors would say to these people you better do something about yourself. We can't have a bigoted teacher working in the school. All we can have a bigoted person working in the urban renewal program or the poverty program or whatever the situation is and these people often go to the therapeutic types. Psychologists sociologists psychiatrists and I will say I have this intense hatred of Negroes or have this intense
fear of Negroes. Can you help me help people in helping professions have known for a long long time that you don't try to treat the bigotry in itself that you must deal with this person's concept of self because the reason he is using scapegoats and the reason he has this intense hatred is because he feels that he does not measure up. And these people are going to surpass him in some way. Let's deal with another dimension. And I don't know how to explain this when I want you to talk. I want to tell you this in advance. People who are intensely prejudiced in the general population. Tend to be individuals who over estimate the number of people who are the object of the discrimination of prejudice. Let me be more specific. You walked on the street with the person who is fairly bigoted and he'll say to you oh you know those Jews are really taking over Milwaukee. You know you see them everywhere and you'll turn to him and you will ask what percentage of
Jews would you say would be in Milwaukee and they would come up with something like 25 percent or at least 25 percent when they're in actuality they're about 3 percent of Jews in the city of Milwaukee. When you ask him what percentage of negroes would you say live in Milwaukee typically speaking the extremely bigoted person will respond they are inundating a place that must be at least 50/50 in this community. Well we know that the percentage of negroes in the walk is about 10 percent. They seem to see them everywhere when they hate them. Many times they will tell you that I can tell one I don't care how blue eyes his eyes are I don't care how blonde her hair is I can identify one all you have to do is show me one. And they come up with ridiculous kinds of things by saying All you have to do is look behind their ears. Something of this nature when we know that every year in this country about 50000 people who are
socially and legally negroes socially and legally negroes pass over the color line and cannot be identified. We do know if many of us have been around that there are Negroes who are as light who are socially identified as the girls who are as light as any caucasian you want to see. Even the Scandinavian type with hair as blonde as in a Scandinavian that you want to see now socially these people and the girls there is some doubt as to whether or not biologically they are. But I'm talking about extreme or bigoted people who say that I don't care what the biological characteristics are I can tell one. All you have to do is watch the rhythm in their bones and some ridiculous statement like this. A prejudiced majority is more likely to attribute to the minority traits that they deem undesirable. You know back around the turn of the century. Welp before that even before the Civil War during the Civil War and
and after the Civil War there was a tendency for people who had been slave owners the policy structure of that day and very polite society to look out at their chattel and external and say Aren't they uninhibited. Don't they have rhythm they smell bad. But they're happy now they are attributing undesirable traits to people because they have accepted traits for themselves out of the obvious of those traits. What they're saying in effect that it is more desirable to be reserved and inhabitants and be scholarly. And we have these kinds of characteristics so they attribute to the other group the undesirable kinds of characteristics. Now as time went on and during this period of time it is unfashionable and it is on
cricket. If you allow me to invent my own term to refer to those people as being loud old stress stinking and this kind of thing. So we use other kinds of terms that still seem to be the obvious of the values that we hold to are for ourselves such terms as mine don't they make good athletes because we are saying in effect that it is much more desirable to be bookish and scholarly than it is to be athletic. So we say they make good athletes they make good dancers they make good entertainers. This type of thing what we're saying is that we want to achieve it some kind of characteristic to them that is different than the characteristic that we hold for ourselves. But we don't want it to be such a bad kind of label that people will look at us askance and say mind this person has a lot of hatred buried down deeply inside of himself. So in polite society particularly among fairly
well-educated people who live decent kinds of lives. You don't say that he is. A criminal. Well you don't say that all of them can run fast or something of this nature but you give other kinds of characteristics that are not quite that bad. Now let's talk about stereotypes and how they influence the psychological and sociological development of Negro people and people who are discriminated against. When these kinds of stereotypes are widespread you will find typically that Negro people themselves or jewels begin to internalize these kinds of stereotypes and begin to behave in that particular fashion. As you say they make good athletes. If you say it loud enough and long enough pretty soon young negro youngsters growing up will begin to say well I'm supposed to be a good athlete and I'm going to exercise and I'm going to master my skills. So if you drive through the inner
core of Milwaukee during the summer 7:00 p.m. 7:30 8:00 p.m. as long as it's like you'll see youngsters on basketball courts throwing up basketballs you'll see them running and trying to outrun each other in this type of thing trying to develop their skills. And when they go into various kinds of high school settings it Kamen with a greater kind of skill than the average youngster from the city at large. And the concept is reinforced the stereotype just reinforced my don't they make good athletes. But there's also a very dangerous stereotype that seems to exist and that stereotype holds that they make good scholars. They work well with their hands but they do not work well with their heads. So as a consequence youngsters internalize this concept and when they come into a school situation they behave the same way. Now there are the kinds of stereotypes and I hope we can be very frank with each other. I have come down through the centuries. First of all there
is a stereotype among the American Negro the undereducated perhaps American Negro that all white males are weak. And they began to see them as weak in the feet individuals. Now what does this do what is the logical consequence of this kind of thing. When a negro youngster grows up in some kind of setting and he moves into an integrated kind of environment I say he's 16 and he has a fight with a white youngster and he's beaten. Can you imagine what this does to his ego when he has been bombarded all of these many years with some kind of false notion that all whites are weak. The concept of all Negro men have some kind of unusual sexual prowess. They can go all night long in sexual intercourse and this kind of thing. This is a stereotype that has passed down through all the decades.
And there are a lot of Negro men who actually feel that they have more sexual prowess than white males. There is a stereotype among Negro women that white men are gentle and they make gentle lovers. And they're not as animalistic as the girls and I were talking about the whole cycle sexual kind of notion that seems to permeate and undergird all of the elements of discrimination and prejudice that we find in the society today. It is primarily based on the psycho sexual notion more than anything else. Well let me move on to another point. Now let's talk about aggression. What causes riots. What causes people to engage in various kinds of Norm volleyed and behaviors. I submit to you that the fact that we do have aggression and the fact that we do have riots is
a sign of progress in the society. That might sound very shocking to you but we have known in psychology for a long long time that when people are kept down when they are suppressed when they are oppressed. When they are kept from expressing their true feelings about certain kinds of matters as exist in many parts of the southern regions of the United States that they do not try to revolt. They do not agree engage in aggression. It is only when they begin to make some progress and they see that the boundaries of society exist the boundaries of a society exist and they are not sharing in these bounties. When they see various kinds of progress being made by the out of society and they have enjoyed some of the fruits of that society that they turn to aggression and rioting and this
kind of thing. I'm saying that aggression is a logical consequence of frustration when a person is able to see something and you cannot enjoy that himself he becomes frustrated. There is no way to express the frustration. And as a logical consequence of being blocked an expression of frustration the individual turns to aggressive acts of various kind. Now I've talked about a problem. What is it we can do about this. As individuals first of all I would say that each of us can do all a great deal by challenging any kind of hate statement that is made. Don't let unchallenged gall a remark by some bigot at a cocktail party where you happen to be about the sticks or
the niggers or the honkies. This kind of thing any kind of joke that seems to present another group in a very undesirable light should be Christian and you don't have to do this and antagonize people your host or the people at the party in doing this. I typically do it when I hear a joke about a honky or when I hear a joke about a spic or when I hear a joke about even negroes. I say to them you're not going to tell me another one of those are you. What do you think I think of you when you tell me a joke like that in a very quiet and deliberate way. And I find consistently that I don't tell me many of those jokes anymore. As a matter of fact I'm a little upset about that because I'm not keeping up with the latest jokes. There was a study that was done by Solomon Asch at one of the exclusive girl
schools. Solomon Asch is a social psychologist and he would draw a line on the board and have some experimenters look at that line and the line would obviously be three inches and he would draw another line and the line would be five inches and he would have one of his helpers apart me six or six experimenters and one person from the general population a subject and he would ask all six of his people to lie about the length of the line. Most of these people were mathematicians or engineers or what not. And look at a look at a line and say well that line is not three inches you know it looks more like five but six people before him before he was asked will say the line looks like five inches when it's actually three. And when you come to the subject the subject has a tendency to say the same thing that the other six people said before six people before him would say the line looks like five inches rather than
three there's a tendency for him to say that although in the back of his mind he knows that this is not true but he'll say it anyway. But when they read juggle the groups. And I will ask one of the experimenters to say well you know there is some real question about whether that line is five inches it looks like three when only one person would speak out before they get to the subject that subjects had a tendency to split about 50/50 and the kinds of things that they would say about that line that they would judge the line more accurately if there was just one person before they get to him who would come out in the open and say no thats not true. Just one. And thats all you me that that cocktail party when various kinds of racial epitaphs are being spread around just one person to say how really is that really true. Is that really true. Do all Negro Women give birth to illegitimate babies.
Is that really true. Just one person to speak out to deal with these stereotypes. And I think you will find progress being made within that particular group. Let me talk about another thing here. And some of you will find some criticism of this in the literature and among your friends. I do not believe in integration. If integration has to come by mixing unlike groups socio economic groups. Now why would I make a statement like that. I have read a variety of reports. And I'm of the old pinion that if you wish to reduce prejudice and discrimination. You do not take a group of youngsters from the inner core of no walkie and bus them to Whitefish Bay and expect them to integrate themselves because we know that this does not work. That there seems to
be a tendency for children to resegregate themselves once they're put into that kind of situation. I'm saying in effect. Desegregation can take place along those kinds of lines but not true integration. Not only that it has a much more dematerialize effect on the youngsters of the receiving school. The modal middle class girl when they look at these youngsters and these youngsters are really expressing the subculture of poverty and their general demeanor and the whites at those schools will say you know my mom was right. They do dress improperly and they are loud. And they do speak like stop inflection. When Little Black Sambo or somebody like that. What happens in effect is that these kinds of youngsters seem to reinforce the old stereotypic patterns that existed in the
minds of those individuals more than before. Now when you deal with a person who is bigoted it is desirable if you wish to make some kind of impact on that person to deal with one attitude at a time. If you are challenging this person because he's a little loud and a little flamboyant and he's also a bigot in the process you don't attack all attitudes at one time you just zero in on one. Because what happens is that people build up psychological resistance to a total onslaught and they begin to fight back and they feel justified in fighting back. When you disturb the ego so that kind of extent. So if you're going to attack bigotry it is well to zero in on the bigotry and leave the other undesirable characteristics alone until you make progress in that regard. And lastly I would say that intensive competition between races and among religious groups should be
avoided at all cost intensive competition between the All Black team on one side of the town and the all white team on the other side of the town. Now you have heard before long athletes coaches and other kinds of people who engage in athletics who say that this is true brotherhood when you see people out there on the floor playing basketball. But what you are really doing from a psychological standpoint is reinforcing the weakness of one group and the weakness of the other group. We against them this kind of thing. And when you have this polarization existing you actually lay the foundation for more prejudice and discrimination to take place. As a matter of fact a lot of voluntas taken place in this country as a result of pairing two teams like this together. I have nothing against integrated teams
and that is when one team of the East is integrated thoroughly integrated in the team of the West is thoroughly integrated. There seems not to be a new trouble in this regard. It is when one team is all black and the other team is all white. And I'm using your news as an example of mathematics but this can also be an example of any phase of life. When you pit one team against another team you have trouble on your hands. When you pit black workers against white workers all white workers against white union members against black union members you have difficulty on your hand and you lay the foundation for more discrimination and prejudice to take place. Nothing is going to be done in the society. Absolutely nothing is going to be done in the society until such people as you begin to take individual initiative and do something about the problem surely you can work in groups. Certainly you can organize in churches and in communities but this is not where the greatest amount of impact
The inner core: City within a city
Let's Look at Prejudice
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3596. This prog.: Let's Look at Prejudice. Dr. Ernest Spaights of U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the roots of prejudice and how to combat it in our personal lives.
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-34-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:02
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Chicago: “The inner core: City within a city; Let's Look at Prejudice,” 1968-11-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
MLA: “The inner core: City within a city; Let's Look at Prejudice.” 1968-11-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 6, 2023. <>.
APA: The inner core: City within a city; Let's Look at Prejudice. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from