Contemporary Application of Social Psychology


ContemporaryApplication of Social Psychology

Accordingto a New York Times article dated 7th August 2015, children aresuffering as a result of the current racists systems in the UnitedStates. March 2015, riots erupted in the town of Ferguson after awhite police officer, Michael Brown killed a black teenager, who atthe time of killing was unarmed. A closer review of the town’spolicing systems, it was discovered that the law enforcement systemand policing mechanisms embraced racism and was unconstitutional.According to the article, the Justice Department has recently issueda report that highlights the violation of the St. Louis. Juvenilecourt system. Apart from St. Louis, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texasare other court systems under investigations by the JusticeDepartment.

Thearticle argues that there is an enormous disparity between how blackand white are treated by the courts system in St. Louis county.Recent studies carried out on this issue show that black children aretreated harshly compared to white children. For instance, most ofthe times, black children are subjected to a custody of the juvenilesystem while white are likely to be placed into community-basedprogrammes. Before a court of law, white children get a less harshverdict such as probation at home or being grounded at home. On theother hand, black children get harsh verdicts such as being placed injuvenile correctional sectors and later transferred to adult adultprisons where they might face harsher verdicts such as lifeimprisonment. For so many years. Mississippi has been labelled as themost racist state, especially its court system. The disparitytreatment between white and black children by the court system is aclear indicator of how the contemporary child is suffering from theissue of racism.

Fordecades, racism has been marked as an issue that is tearing nationsapart. Therefore, there is a dire need to try and understand thisissue from a social psychology perspective. In social psychology,racism is linked to prejudice. Racism is a particular type ofintolerance that involves detrimental attitudes or behavior towardsmembers of an ethnic group. There are several definition of race butin the context of racism, it can be seen as an ethnic group from aspecific continent for instance, Africans, Europeans, Asians,Americans to name but a few.

Prejudicegoes hand in hand with stereotyping. Stereotyping is the tendency toattribute certain traits to a person or group of people. The currentissue in St. Louis and Mississippi can be clearly explained byapplying the social psychology concept of stereotyping. The commonstereotype about black people is that they are more aggressive andwhen under pressure, they are likely to be violent. The articlesexplains that the black child is treated with increased restrictivemeasures compared to the white kid. The reason behind the disparityin treatment is the impact of stereotyping on the contemporary lawenforcement system. Since the black child is associated with violentbehavior, they have to face more restrictive measures as a result ofthis. For instance, officer Michael Brown killed the black teenagerin the town of Ferguson because he though the teenager was armed,based on the nature of being violent. On the other hand, the whitesare stereotyped as calm in nature and slow to anger andaggressiveness. For this reason, the white kid is likely to betreated with less restrictive measures based on their stereotypedpersonality.


TheNew York Times (August 7 2015). ChildrenCaught in a Racist System.Retrieved from: