Prejudice against Australian Aborigines: Old-fashioned and modern forms

Anne Pedersen, Iain Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Prejudice is a pervasive and destructive social problem. Theories of prejudice distinguish between old-fashioned and modern forms. The former is an open rejection of minority group members; the latter is subtle and covert, with a veneer of out group acceptance. The present study examines the distinction in the context of contemporary attitudes to Australian Aborigines. Separate measures of each, and of other variables, were included in a random survey of the Perth metropolitan area in 1994. The two forms of prejudice were correlated (r=0.55), but factor analysis revealed that the two constructs are separable. Further, they were distributed differently in the population, with modern prejudice being more prevalent than old-fashioned prejudice (57.9 per cent scoring above the midpoint on the modern scale, and only 21.2 per cent on the old-fashioned scale). Modern prejudice was predicted more strongly by social psychological variables (R2=0.51) than was old-fashioned prejudice (R2=0.30), and the pattern of results from regression analyses differed for the two types of prejudice. Overall, the results confirm the distinction between old-fashioned and modern forms of prejudice, but indicate that the two are conceptually and empirically related to one another. Comparisons with earlier research reveal the declining prevalence of old-fashioned prejudice, but indicate prejudice is still a major social problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-587
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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