Power Is Everywhere: Social Control and Personal Control Both Operate at Stereotype Activation, Interpretation, and Response
Stereotypes pervade the history of intergroup relations, often exerting destructive influence over people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior regarding human group differences. The insidious manner by which stereotypes can govern people's actions articulates daily through newspaper headlines and current events: genocide in Rwanda; enmity between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East; incessant conflict between Bosnians, Serbians, and Croats; hate-motivated burnings of African-American churches in the U.S. South; and violent instances of "gay bashing." Undeniably, the accounts mentioned arise from multiply caused, cumulative variables specific to each case. However, in all accounts of bias, stereotypes
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provide perpetrators with the cognitive underpinnings and ideological rationale for prejudice and discrimination.