Racism and Stereotypes

  • Paul SpoonleyEmail author
Reference work entry


One of the major shifts in scholarship in the twentieth century was to move away from a reliance on the science and popular understanding of “race” to a more critical and nuanced approach that included a focus on ethnic identity and a vocabulary that included racism. These shifts prompted the race-inspired genocide of the Holocaust combined with the growing decolonization politics of the colonized, both those that were colonized as part of a process of occupation and settlement or those that were excluded and marginalized as a result of the racism of hegemonic communities or institutions of those states. The decolonization politics of the mid-twentieth century included those residents in metropolitan economies and societies as a result of what was often a process of forced migration. The struggle for recognition and equity also included those that had existed as preexisting nations within colonies but were now subjugated peoples. One of the most important components to these politics of colonization and ongoing marginalization were the presence of stereotypes, the attribution of certain characteristics, typically negative in tone or content, to a whole group of people. As racism has changed in the late twentieth century and through the first decades of the twenty-first century, some stereotypes have remained constant while others have changed or new ones emerged. These stereotypes are invoked and reproduced in a range of settings, including institutions such as the media (new as well as traditional or education, or as an aspect of social commentary and exchange, such as comedy and humor) and as part of humor.


Race Racism Stereotypes 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities and Social SciencesMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Vijay Naidu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the South PacificSuvaFiji

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