Society of African Journal Editors

South African Journal of Sociology

The reference group basis of racial altitudes: An empirical study with white and black Rhodesians

Authors: Christopher Orpen

Journal: South African Journal of Sociology

To test the argument that prejudice is a reflection of inner needs (‘expressive’ theory) 90 African and 81 White Rhodesian teacher-trainees matched for age and education were given the F-scale measure of personality a measure of social distance toward outgroups and an anti-African measure (in the case ofthe whites) or an anti-European measure (in the case of the Africans), Since the African; were significantly less distant toward outgroup than the whites but were not less authoritarian (F-scale)and the correlation between the F-scale and social distance was not significant in either group, it was concluded that prejudice in this setting is not closely related to inner needs. An explanation for the obtained findings is given in terms of social factors and cultural norms.