Case Study: Interrelated, Goes a Saying in Contemporary Spiritualist

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¶ … interrelated, goes a saying in contemporary spiritualist movements. Everything we do, our thoughts, our behavior reflects outside of us and vice versa. The world is the mirror we look into, it is the place where our projections materialize, the same spiritualists argue. Social psychologists too are interested in such connections, although their approach is less spiritual and more scientifically driven. More relevant, social psychologists are not interested in universal interrelations but to address the issue of human interdependence. That is to say they focus on how the individual responds to stimuli in the social environment. As a field study, social psychology is about as young as these new spiritualists concepts, spanning from merely several decades ago. Nevertheless, it has aroused much interest and it is today a representative model for understanding human behavior. In this paper, we will look at a particular real life historical fact through theoretical lens. Our goal is to asses the circumstance from a scientific point-of-view that uses social psychology as an instrument for understanding. Having introduced a picture frame of social psychology, we mention that, for our purpose, we will be addressing one specific theory, only pointing to subsequent ones, if necessary. Due to the nature of our topic which we will be revealing in just a moment, we believe the most suitable approach would be the contact hypothesis theory which specifically addresses racism and the positive effects of desegregation. That being said, we draw attention that the topic we have chosen to explore in this paper is desegregation in America, subsequently educational segregation. By the end of the analysis, we should be able to point how segregation encourages racism rather than displaying opportunities for people of different cultures and/or race. We believe the topic is relevant in today's contemporary societies as well when so much attention is being given to equality of races and gender. Although we specifically address segregation in the twentieth century, we feel some of the information in this paper is generally relevant and, as we shall see, applicable today.

The most controversial case of segregation in America is without a doubt the African-American people having been deprived of equal rights applicable to white individuals alone in the last few decades of the nineteenth century and the following decades in the twentieth. The Civil War was victorious in that it enabled former enslaved African-Americans to enjoy freedom. But this freedom, as it soon became evident, was not total and, in fact, slavery continued under a subtle mask of health services discrimination, educational differences, and others. However, in many cases, there was no subtlety when it came to the freedom that was given to African-Americans in exercising their rights. Claims for education, protection, employment, etc. were not met by the society and white local communities often challenged the situation further. The promises of the Reconstruction which thrived to equal African-Americans in society were forgotten by the late 1870's and the Jim Crow legislation separated the former from whites in schools, jobs, and public places. The Jim Crow laws aimed at restricting intergroup relations between the people of color and whites, therefore suppressing the chances for equality. Even before such official claims, individuals, encouraged by the government's passive attitude, felt empowered to take on a more violent behavior against African-Americans and Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866. It reinforced white supremacy through intimidation and inducing fear. All the while, the American court sustained that segregation is not discrimination if it is equal and this, indeed, as Louis Fisher has acknowledged, is ?manifestly unsound. (2011, p. 235)

It was a weak argument that only served common goals to limit the rights of African-Americans within communities. And because the government supported through such attitude their seclusion, it became officially legal for people of color to be estranged from public and private institutions. Separations in schools between the people of color from the whites further enforced the perception that the former merely served a second role in society and that they were to comply with subordination. In many parts of the South, education among African-Americans was conducted in secrecy due to racist consequences. Segregated education was adopted by law in seventeen states and there were imprisonment punishments for teachers instructing free black students. Affiliated buildings required black students to study separate from whites, fines were being passed to whoever taught children of mixed races, a book that had been borrowed by a black student was prohibited from being used by whites, etc. The Freedmen's Bureau was established in 1865 by the Congress to help address the issue of emancipated slaves. Its contribution resulted in thousands of schools being inaugurated for black children and also the first black colleges. The struggles for educational equality however continued until after the second half of the twentieth century. and, in 1954, it was decided that segregation was unconstitutional, thus the African-American society saw the beginning of a new era in regards to equal education. However, it will take several years before local communities becoming accustomed and there was much resistance in regards to accepting black people in the education system. Indeed, ?the peek of the effort to desegregate the schools came in the late 1960s and early 1970s, ? As Gary Orfield underlined (2001, p. 3). Interracial schools were disposed more financial resources to encourage race relations and friendship amongst whites and African-American students, various educational programs encouraged enrollment within desegregated schools, but difficulties in implementing changes resulted because of a long past of segregation. It is important to understand that desegregation is not successful when it happens in strict technical terms. That is to say that, although legislation balanced African-American's civil rights, there was a more powerful battle that was going on within people's perceptions and beliefs. Simply allowing black students to enroll and sit next to whites did not immediately evaporated years learnt misperceptions and discriminatory behavior. Nonetheless, social psychology had, by then, increased its interest in matters of social prejudice and indeed its researches contributed to ending educational segregation. Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps's researches in regards to the negative effect of segregated education upon black children were presented as evidence in Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kan., the case which concluded with segregation being declared unconstitutional. But the one who provided more insight into the field of prejudice and racism was Gordon Allport who introduced the contact hypothesis theory.

Allport's theory suggests that contact between members of different groups reduces prejudices but that positive contact is dependent of certain factors. He understood prejudice as a form of extreme antipathy directed towards a group, subsequently its members individually, on ethnic and religious basis. Perception was among the main causes that led to prejudice, as Allport concluded, and it mostly implied an overall negative generalization over certain groups or ethnicities. Dana Bramel has stated that ?prejudice is not caused by real behavioral / cultural differences or competition between groups, in Allport's understanding (2004. p. 50) Indeed, his contact hypothesis should eventually reveal similarities between groups that would serve to ?undermine the negative stereotypes associated with that type of (irrational, unprovoked) hostility. (Bramel, 2004, p. 50). but, in regards to African-Americans, contact with whites was severely interrupted and, when it occurred, individuals were not liberated enough from false misperceptions as to allow any type of productive relationships to develop. In this respect, communication and the possibility for discovering similarities among groups of different races was roughly affected by the society itself. This is one of the aspects that need to be taken into consideration when addressing contact among groups, that there is a necessity for acceptance and welcoming such initiatives. Because segregation in education, employment, and public gathering places worked to separate people more and more, contact was less and less available and the African-Americans were living completely estranged from the white communities. White people were refusing to engage in conversations with the former, and the people of color avoided contact either due to law enforcement or violent racist consequences. Therefore, there were no favorable circumstances in which either of the groups could have allowed for a natural flow of knowledge and understanding of similarities.

One of Allport's views was that ?prejudice occurs when people are placed at some disadvantage that is not warranted by their individual actions or qualifications. (Eagly & Diekman, 2005, p. 23-24) but, in regards to the case we are analyzing, African-Americans were not prejudiced on account of separate individuals being assessed negatively. Moreover, it was not separate cases which led to prejudiced generalization but indeed, it existed as such since before the emergence of the Civil War. In this respect, we would rather believe that, relevant to our case, is that ?prejudice exists when social perceivers hold a stereotype about a social group that is inconsistent with the attributes that are believed to be required for success in certain classes of social roles. (Eagly & Diekman, 2005, p. 23) We will not go in depth as to what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Interrelated, Goes a Saying in Contemporary Spiritualist.  (2013, July 27).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/interrelated-goes-saying-contemporary/8096973

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"Interrelated, Goes a Saying in Contemporary Spiritualist."  Essaytown.com.  July 27, 2013.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/interrelated-goes-saying-contemporary/8096973.