Subtle and blatant prejudice in western Europe


  • The authors presented earlier versions of this paper at the First European Congress on Psychology in Amsterdam, June 1989; the European Social Psychology Association in Budapest, June 1990; the Racism Conference of Passages in Paris, June 1991; and the International Congress on Psychology in Brussels, July 1992. A Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to the first author to the Bellagio Study and Conference Center at Bellagio, Italy facilitated the paper's final preparation. The complete questionnaires with instructions in Dutch, English, French and German can be obtained from the authors: Kerr Hall, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 USA; or Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 15, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This paper develops, measures, and tests two types of intergroup prejudice—blatant and subtle. Blatant prejudice is the traditional, often studied form; it is hot, close and direct. Subtle prejudice is the modern form; it is cool, distant and indirect. Using data from seven independent national samples from western Europe, we constructed 10-item scales in four languages to measure each of these varieties of prejudice. We report the properties, structure and correlates of both scales across the seven samples, and make initial checks on their validity. The cross-nationally consistent results support the value of the blatant-subtle distinction as two varieties of prejudice. While they share many correlates, their distinctive differences suggest better specification of these correlates of prejudice. And the blatant-subtle distinction also aids in more precise specification of the effects of prejudice on attitudes toward immigrants. The paper closes with a normative interpretation of Subtle Prejudice.