Reflecting on Week 2
This week we have taken an introspective look at ourselves first by listing to and categorizing the various types of identities we have. Our personalities and skills, our social roles and group membership, and our attachment to ethnic, religious, or regional groups are all parts of our identities. These identities play an important role in shaping our patterns, expectations, and interactions with others.
We then moved on to explain what happens when groups are formed and when they are in contact with each other. Social identity theory helps us understand the nature roots of ethnocentrism. It also explains why people are motivated to favor in-groups and how this preference is formed through categorization, identification, and comparison.
It is important to keep in mind that our perceptions are shaped by our cultures, which will most likely go on to shape our attitudes and behaviors. If we are not careful, our stereotypes about a particular group may develop into prejudice and even discrimination. But Allport’s intergroup contact hypothesis gives us some practical measures to decrease these negative outcomes, particularly describing four possible conditions for forming positive intergroup relations and reducing prejudice.
We hope that after this week, you can be more aware of the effects of identities on you and be more mindful in your future interactions with people from other cultures. We also hope that you will be more motivated to take initiatives to contact people from groups that you least know little about or have prejudice against.
© Shanghai International Studies University