Dr. Erin Beeghly presents on Prejudice and Wrongful Stereotyping

Event Date: Thursday, December 6 - 2:00 pm

Dr. Erin Beeghly (University of Utah) will speak about prejudice and wrongful stereotyping, Thursday, December 6th from 2:00 - 3:15pm in HUM 384.

Title: Prejudice & Wrongful Stereotyping

Abstract: Often prejudice is identified as a cause of stereotyping. It also frequently cited to explain why stereotyping is ethically bad. Citing these data, one could advance a simple but powerful theory of wrongful stereotyping. Here is what the theory would say: stereotyping someone is wrong if and only if it is caused by—hence is a manifestation of—prejudice. In this talk, I start by sketching a historical case in which activists—specifically, activists responding to the AIDS crisis in the United States—have appealed to prejudice to explain what’s wrong with stereotyping. This case will serve as an anchor as I explore and evaluate prejudice-focused theories of when and why stereotyping is wrong. In Part 2, I provide a conceptual map that reveals different ways to understand what prejudice is. In Part 3, I reflect on what would have to be true for any of these views to provide the basis for an adequate theory of ethically wrongful stereotyping. In Part 3, I evaluate prejudice-focused theories of wrongful stereotyping. I argue that all such theories fail: either they cannot reliably identify cases of wrongful stereotyping or they cannot explain why these cases are wrong. In closing, I sketch what I believe the role of prejudice in a theory of wrongful stereotyping should be. My view is that prejudice can be at most an enhancer, i.e., a feature that can make stereotyping more wrong than it otherwise would be.