While overt prejudice is now much less prevalent than in decades past, subtle prejudice – prejudice that is inconspicuous, indirect, and often unconscious – continues to pervade our society. Laws do not protect against subtle prejudice and, because of its covert nature, it is difficult to observe and frequently goes undetected by both perpetrator and victim. Benign Bigotry uses a fresh, original format to examine subtle prejudice by addressing six commonly held cultural myths based on assumptions that appear harmless but actually foster discrimination: ‘those people all look alike’; ‘they must be guilty of something’; ‘feminists are man-haters’; ‘gays flaunt their sexuality’; ‘I’m not a racist, I’m color-blind’ and ‘affirmative action is reverse racism’. Kristin J. Anderson skillfully relates each of these myths to real world events, emphasizes how errors in individual thinking can affect society at large, and suggests strategies for reducing prejudice in daily life.
Introduction: the changing place of prejudice: a migration underground; 1. 'Those people all look alike': the myth of the other; 2. 'They must be guilty of something': myths of criminalization; 3. 'Feminists are man-haters': backlash myth-making; 4. 'Gays flaunt their sexuality': the myth of hypersexuality; 5. 'I'm not a racist, I'm colorblind': the myth of neutrality; 6. 'Affirmative action is reverse racism': the myth of merit; Conclusion.
Winner, 2010 Choice Outstanding Academic Award
"Kristin Anderson frames serious social problems of prejudice and discrimination in a compelling, engaging manner through the systematic use of cutting-edge scientific research. Not only does she diagnose the problems, she also offers some possible cures leaving the reader with the optimism that things can continue to improve in our society. This book is a brilliant piece of scholarship that deserves to reach a wide audience."
--Campbell Leaper, Professor of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz
"...Benign Bigotry does a great job of describing research in an engaging way and opening readers’ eyes to the many ways in which prejudice and discrimination affect their targets as well as their sources. It is an easy and interesting read, yet it describes research more accurately and understandably than do many similar types of books. It is a relatively complete picture of the social psychological reasons behind some of our more “misguided” social beliefs about others and a resource offering clear prescriptions for change... Anderson places social psychological research on prejudice in plain sight."
--Helen C. Harton and Thomas Dirth, PsycCRITIQUES
"...Anderson (Univ. of Houston, Downtown) illuminates the subtle ways in which individuals act, intentionally or unintentionally, out of prejudice in contemporary society. Her writing is engaging, even when she presents empirical data to make her case for six "commonly held cultural myths" having to do with otherness, criminalization, feminism, homosexuality, race, and "reverse racism."... Anderson is the first to present the scholarship an accessible, compelling way... Highly recommended..."
M. Bonner. Hawaii Pacific University, CHOICE
"....Anderson’s writing style is nontechnical and she clearly explains potentially problematic aspects of conducting research and interpreting its results for readers
who may be unfamiliar with the research process. These characteristics also make the book useful as a textbook for an undergraduate seminar on contemporary prejudice...."
Bernard E. Whitley, Jr., Ball State University, Sex Roles