Everyone's a little bit racist, posits the song from the musical Avenue Q. But it may not be your fault, according to research in the latest edition of the British Journal of Social Psychology. In looking for the culprit as to why people tend to display tinges of racism, sexism or ageism, even towards members of their own group, a research team, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that our culture may be partially to blame.
While previous psychological studies have shown that racism, sexism and ageism tend to be universal, a new study led by Paul Verhaeghen, professor in Georgia Tech's School of Psychology, found that works in the American culture, namely literature, movies, TV, radio and the Internet, may contribute to the problem by exhibiting the same stereotypes that society works so hard to snuff out.
"There's one idea that people tend to associate black people with violence, women with weakness, or older people with forgetfulness - because they are prejudiced. But there's another possibility that what's in your head is not you, it's the culture around you," said Verhaeghen.
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