Antiracism advertising

A suggestion that there are limitations to manipulation: How anti-racism advertising can backfire. It seems that if someone doesn’t fully accept the official line that all groups are equally good in all respects, antiracist advertising can make him think about the issues and drop the official line altogether.

An odd feature of the piece is that the researchers seem to recognize that stereotypes have some validity, for example that a group can have qualities that might be interpreted either as arrogance or as strong adherence to moral principle. The suggestion, of course, is to find ways to accentuate the positive. The problem is that once it’s admitted that differences exist it becomes legitimate to like some groups more than others, and quite possibly to find that there are a few groups one would much rather avoid. Which is why, as the researchers observe, the results obtainable through the “accentuate the positive” approach are extremely fragile.

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