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December 1963

Prejudice in American Negro College Students: Mental Status, Antisemitism and Antiforeign Prejudice

Author Affiliations

The Psychiatric Institute, University of Maryland.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(6):619-628. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720180091012

"Prejudice" usually refers to a set of stereotyped, fixed, essentially irrational beliefs of a deprecatory or anxious nature held by members of a majority group about members of a minority. Such beliefs, which have much in common with delusional ideas may be plausibly regarded as reflecting attempts to deal with fear and insecurity about one's own status and capabilities. The minority which is seen as the source of some ill-defined threat against the majority functions as a convenient scapegoat for the latter.

It seems probable that the prejudices held by a member of a minority group will also reflect his defensive and need-gratifying processes. Ego-supporting, self-esteem building devices seem particularly important for the minority group. Among such devices are the adoption of fragments of the value systems of the larger power-holding society which surrounds him, but in which he does not participate completely. These include

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