Social Identity Theory

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In Racial and Ethnic Relations, Feagin and Feagin explore important matters of Culture and Ethnic groups to better understand the presence of discrimination and prejudices that we see in modern society. It is through their specific analysis of prejudice and stereotypes that we are introduced to this term called ethnocentrism. As they reference the definition of ethnocentrism made available by William G. Sumner, it is described as believing the group that you culturally or socially identify with to be central in society and all the other groups are only seen as something relative to the group that you belong in (11.) This term can be further investigated with the introduction of a psychology theory called the social identity theory. It proposes that discrimination is used to strengthen one’s social identity and improve one’s self-image. Basically, it further concretes the “us” and “them” (or in-group and out-group) mentalities through the attribution of negative qualities to the out-group. It is the presence of ethnocentrism – and the negative implications of the social identity theory that it relates to – that we can best understand and evaluate the structure and social experiences of those who are forced into the out-group positions. This term can be further investigated through the analysis of text from M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang. It is through his parody of the opera Madama Buterfly in which Puccini pushes racial stereotypes through the actions of the character Cio
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