Applied Social Psychology and Diversity

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Intergroup Relations and Diversity


This country is a mixture of diversity.  We are ethnically and cultural rich because of those differences.  Diversity is not a bad thing.  The world would be a boring place if everyone were the same.  Intergroup relations at work would not be productive if everyone was bringing the same thing to the table.  The ethnic and cultural differences keep different personalities and ideas flowing to generate new ideas.  Socially we want diversity among our friends.  We may be drawn to people who have similar personalities, but we are all still unique.  Whether it is in the workplace or socially if we are not open to working and socializing with people of different ethnic backgrounds, genders or religions we are our own worst enemy.  Embracing our differences and accepting others is the only way to give this world a chance.  Racial and ethnic divides only lead to prejudices and racism, which has in the past and continues today to cause violence and mistrust.  The advances in technology both in weaponry and media could cause catastrophic consequences in areas where there are fragile relations among some groups.  We need to use different applied social psychology theories in social media in its many forms to promote peace and acceptances of our differences.  Social dominance theory as suggested in this lesson, (PSU, 2013) "may be the best way to reduce conflict."  We need to start seeing our intergroup relationship as members of our planet earth and start brainstorming ideas on finding solutions for the problems we have caused.  Many of those problems are from different forms of prejudices and racism that have caused conflicts that have adversely affected our planet.  If comes down to social dominance theory because of a catastrophic event that forces the different races and nations to unit for a common goal it might be to late.  Prejudice and racism will no longer seem like such a great divide at that point.  Let's hope it doesn't come down to that to make people put aside their differences.




PSU, (2013); Psyc424:  Applied Social Psychology, Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations


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Amanda, I really appreciate the positivity in your post. I agree that diversity is strength, and that improved intergroup relations are more important than ever in our increasingly interconnected world.

That being said, I think you’re missing a bit of nuance here. When you say that racial and ethnic divides lead to prejudice and racism, you’re creating a sort of circular argument that doesn’t offer much in the way of helping us to understand how to avoid or prevent these ills. Social divisions (or inequalities) between races or ethnic groups are a manifestation of prejudice and racism, but this tells us nothing about the cause.

Social Dominance Theory provides some explanation; the theory asserts that humans tend to create societies characterized by group structures, with a dominant group (or groups) commanding resources, power and status and one or more subordinate groups competing for more limited resources and prestige with the dominant group (Pratto et al., 2006; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999 as cited in “PSYCH 490 Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations,” 2013). According to the theory, all human societies enforce hierarchy based on age and gender, but that divisions such as race, class or ethnicity are ‘arbitrary set categories’ (unique to a given society). While both dominant and subordinate groups often act in ways that perpetuate the hierarchy, the motivations of the groups are typically different (e.g., the dominant group seeks to preserve power, resources and status, while subordinate groups seek to join the dominant group). The hierarchical structure is influenced by two competing forces, one hierarchy-enhancing and one hierarchy-attenuating. Legitimizing myths serve to reinforce both of these two forces (think about some of the competing legitimizing myths in our society: the fundamental equality of men vs. classism).

PSYCH 490 Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations. (2013). Penn State World Campus. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from

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