TRINPsite, 56.16.5-56.16.5 




The proposition that racial discrimination is to racism as discrimination is to exclusivism, needs a refinement, because it is not exclusivism in general but infrafactorial exclusivism which corresponds to racism. Exclusivism in general is every belief, attitude, practise or act which violates the norm of inclusivity, that is, in which a nonrelevant distinction is made on the basis of a certain factor, not only between nonfactors like people but also between factors themselves. Two differences between exclusivism and discrimination are therefore that exclusivism may be interfactorial, and that it may also be a belief or attitude. Moreover, exclusivism does not only denote acts of exclusion (like exclusionism, or discrimination in a traditional, narrow sense), but also acts of making oneself or others exclusive. As such it also concerns sentiments and opinions. Altho discrimination itself does not refer to beliefs and attitudes, strictly speaking, we will speak of "discriminatory beliefs and attitudes" too, since it is a belief or attitude which often occasions a practise or instance of discrimination.

When we talk of "beliefs and attitudes", the meaning of belief is relatively clear: it is an opinion or a system of (disciplinary) thought. The meaning of attitude needs further clarification tho, and the role of attitudes with respect to people's conduct is much more complex as well, particularly in questions of discrimination. 'Attitudes' may be considered as hypothetical constructs in which a person's diverse thoughts, feelings and tendencies to act are arranged into a more or less coherent pattern. The cognitive aspect of someone's attitude concerns 'er thoughts and beliefs; the affective aspect the feelings, such as emotions or volitions, 'e has with respect to an issue or a thing; and the conative aspect the person's behavioral intentions. Some social theorists say that an 'attitude' is constituted by a number of 'opinions' about one subject or with respect to one kind of object, and that, then, an 'ideology' is in turn constituted by a number of attitudes of one and the same person. This, however, does not agree with our terminology according to which an 'ideology' is, first of all, a system of disciplinary thought, and a person-independent or suprapersonal system. Moreover, it would only be applicable to the cognitive aspect of the relationship between 'opinion' and 'attitude', and also between 'attitude' and 'ideology', unless an 'ideology' would, indeed, be one person's more or less coherent set of attitudes.

It is a rule that the more coherent the pattern is into which someone's thoughts, feelings and tendencies are arranged, the better 'e is able to operate without the tension caused by dissonance. Imbalance between attitudinal elements, such as between cognitions, or between the cognitive and affective aspects of an attitude, motivates an individual to change, except when the inconsistence exists below a level of awareness and does not implicate the individual's self-conception. The most influential theory on the positive relationship between attitudinal elements has been the so-called 'theory of cognitive dissonance'. According to this theory dissonance causes tension, and this tension motivates a person to change 'er attitude until internal balance is restored. What is important is that so long as intra-attitudinal inconsistence exists, the attitude remains unstable.

The ways subjects react towards different kinds of thing are similar in that they all reflect negative, in that they all reflect neutral or in that they all reflect positive feelings. The consistence underlying these feelings is psychosocial and not necessarily logical; the strategies individuals employ to attain 'consistence' are often little rational. Observed are not so much the rules of strict deductive logic, but rather those of a sort of 'psycho-logic'. Psychological consistence must therefore be distinguished from a higher-plane logical consistence (higher-plane because it has to fulfil more conditions).

Not only are the cognitions, affects, conations and actions pertaining to one attitude related, also attitudes themselves do not exist in isolation and tend to covary. With the help of certain scales and factor analysis it is, then, possible to assess different attitude clusters. One social scientist thus elicited what 'e considered to be the fundamental dimensions of political attitudes: tender-mindedness / tough-mindedness and radicalism / conservatism. Other investigations have extracted different patterns of attitude dimensions. The attitude clusters have been linked to personality and (sub)cultural norms. Thus one group of researchers found that of the people they interviewed those who made negative statements about one minority group (distinguished on the basis of race, ethnicity or denominational ideology adhered to) also made them about other minority groups (distinguished on the basis of the same or other factors). They discovered a coherent cluster of statements reflecting an -- what they called -- 'authoritarian' attitude and personality. Those who have such a personality tend to be nationalistic, (mono)theistic, antifeministic and aggressive according to the study in question.

When considering the view of one person, this person's overall belief is consistent if 'er convictions and views cohere, that is, show a systematic connection. This connection may be purely theoretical, but it may exist in practise as well. In the latter case beliefs cohere if they are somehow correlated in psychic and/or social reality. Such factual-modal connections are not only found in the studies already mentioned, but also found or suggested by several others. One theorist speaks of a close relationship between contempt of women (by men), sexual inhibition, discrimination of homosexuals and an antidemocratic ideology in which great emphasis is being laid on authority. This complex of attitudes 'e calls "patristic". Its antithesis is the so-called 'matrist(ic)' complex in which psychic and social phenomena tend to go together, like joyful appreciation of sexuality, the belief in the equality of men and women, and a democratic attitude. According to 'im the 'patrist' attitudinal complex is associated with orthodox religion, with fascism and with social systems in which the leader or a number of individuals with some special, exclusive status are glorified. (This complex corresponds to what is called "the authoritarian personality" in the previous study.) 'Matrism', on the other hand, would be associated with the open society. Unfortunately, the employment of the terms matrism and patrism is as deplorable as feminism when used to denote 'antisexism' (or still worse: 'antimasculinism'). This kind of terminology is itself an intermediary manifestation of sexual exclusivism, firstly, because both attitudinal complexes do not depend on somebody's gender nor on some pater or mater rearing a child, and secondly, because the terms refer to a sexual distinction, whereas they are applied to a person's whole attitude and total behavior, of which sexuality is not more than one aspect. However, roughly speaking, one may read for "matrist(ic)": "open", "nondiscriminatory"; and for "patrist(ic)": "closed", "discriminatory" or "exclusivist(ic)". When doing so, such a theory may be regarded as another valuable contribution to a better understanding of the correlations between human beliefs and actions, even tho the suggestion of 'patrist' and 'matrist' eras succeeding each other in the course of history (as made by the same theorist) does not deserve our further attention.

A correlation between the attitude towards other human beings and the attitude towards other animate beings (animals) has also been mentioned already. The exploitation of slaves, women and animals is attributable to one and the same mechanism -- it has been argued -- which systematically favors a person's own group to the prejudice and detriment of others. The former group is often labeled "the ingroup" and the latter one "the outgroup".

While all these studies and theories deal explicitly with particular forms of discrimination, like sexism and speciesism, it has also been said that one should not so much look at the content of belief systems but at their structure. Thus, a continuum from open to closed belief systems has been proposed. An individual's responses would, then, be defined by 'er position on this continuum. Yet, if attitudinal systems have such a structure it is only because of the interrelatedness of attitudes, and because of some form of interattitudinal consistence. (Later it has been said by the same theorist that social and political behavior can be better understood and explained by means of the concept value than by means of attitude. It would, then, be especially important to know the order of someone's doxastic values. However, 'everyone' believes in values like peace, freedom and security, and it is not these doxastic values as such which count but their interpretations and the conditioning of people by their own and other people's beliefs, opinions, feelings, tendencies and actions.)

©MVVM, 41-56 ASWW

Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Fundamentals
The Norm of Inclusivity
Discrimination and Attitudinal Consistency