A psycho-political approach to racism
The collective works of Sniderman, Tetlock and Carmines, Prejudice, politics and the American dilemma (1994), deal with racism from an interdisciplinary point of view, – combining psychologists, demographers, political scientists and sociologists – and from a comparative point of view, – confronting the way Whites see Blacks and the way Blacks see other minorities and Whites in general. The various contributions point out both the universal nature of forming categories and of racial domination, and the specificity of contemporary racism in the United States. They illustrate the dynamic characteristic of prejudice and the upsurge of a symbolic neo-racism which does not declare itself to be so. They show the diversity of explanatory systems and arguments – religious, moral, economic – which form their origins. Finally, they emphasize their tight relation with public politics, aimed to fight against racism, in particular, « positive discrimination » for which a number of contributions mention the perverse effect, creating in fact more racism rather than reducing it. This new approach, using new theory and method, illustrates the productiveness of a psycho-political approach to this phenomenon which would be worth developing in France.