An Essay on Racial Tension, by Philip Mason
Everett C. Hughes recently complained of the “ethnocentrism” of American students of race relations—not only do they limit their interest to the United States, but they frequently concentrate exclusively on the minority race or ethnic group instead of examining the behavior and attitudes of all the groups in an interracial situation. And American social scientists usually lack historical perspective; their search for generalizations “usable” in a multitude of narrowly conceived empirical research projects has led them to psychology rather than to history. In the study of race relations, this has meant that psychological concepts like “stereotype,” “scapegoating,” and “displaced aggression” have dominated, as Paul Kecskemeti recently suggested in COMMENTARY (October 1954), and considerably narrowed the field of inquiry.
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