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Social Inequality in the United States Where Do Stereotypes Begin Social inequality reflects the belief that deviance is not merely deviant personal behavior but also behavior that is committed against other individuals of society Social inequality involves the belief that some individuals are socially defined as disadvantaged due to their life circumstances Social inequality can be applied to a number of life circumstances such as poverty race gender health and many other phenomena Status and stereotypes are central to the discussion of social inequality There are two types of status achieved and ascribed Salinger 2000 Status that is earned such as a college graduate is labeled achieved status Status in which an individual is born with is called ascribed status Gender and race are two examples of ascribed status Stereotypes are standardized mental pictures that are held in common by members of a group Salinger 2000 They often represent oversimplified opinions prejudiced attitudes and derogatory judgments about people in a society Stereotypes do not require accuracy in order to exist Social inequality is dependent on the meanings that people attach to status and stereotypes which can lead to victims of social inequality being labeled as deviant not because of the actions they themselves take but because of the negative labels that are attached to them by the dominant powers in a society Furthermore psychologists once believed that only bigoted individuals used stereotypes Paul 1998 Theories about stereotypes were concerned only with their explicit expression the outright and unabashed racism sexism and the like Current research has revealed the unsettling truth that stereotypes are generated in the unconscious human mind A new approach to the research on stereotypes has uncovered a more subtle notion known as automatic or implicit stereotyping Paul 1998 This new approach to stereotyping uncovers that the enemy of equality has been met the enemy of equality is bred in the human bone Previous researchers who studied stereotyping had simply asked people
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