Racism in the Animal World

Posted on: January 18, 2017 5:24 pm

Racism in the Animal World


rac·ism:  prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. 

  • the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
  • a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
  • The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their social behavior and innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior


Racism can be said to describe a condition in society in which a dominant racial group benefits from the oppression of others, whether they want such benefits or not.

United Nations General Assembly in 1948 states that everyone is entitled to these rights “without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Racism describes discriminatory action by members of a dominant or formerly dominant racial or other group representative of the minority in a particular society. 

The ideology underlying racism can become manifest in many aspects of social life. Such aspects are described as Institutional racism (also known as structural racism, state racism or systemic racism) is racial discrimination by governments, corporations, religions, or educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence the lives of many individuals.

Animal Activist might not target Race but are Stereotyping and using the same ideology as racist.  Ideological belief that all Zoos, animal parks, private owners are evil, abusers, cruel are rooted in stereotypes and biases.  A troubling example is the fact that many people in U.S. society regardless of knowledge believe that all Circus abuse animals and that All Sanctuaries are superior in a variety of ways.

Historically, this particular form of ideological supported and justified the banning and unjust acquisition of land, animals and people’s resources here in the US helping to create some common ideological forms of stereotyping.

Institutional stereotyping takes institutional form in the ways that policies and laws are crafted and put into practice through society’s institutions, such as the decades-long set of policing and legal policies.  these Ideological Institutions known as HSUS, PETA and BCR, which has disproportionately targeted private owners and private Zoo’s that are composed predominantly built on propaganda and lies and not truths or scientific facts.

Animal Activist stereotyping allows these institutionalists a forum with the power to influence their agenda on the lives of many individuals in ways that policies and laws are crafted and put into practice through society’s institutions and other large organizations perverse power to perpetuate privilege and power.

A stereotype is a belief about a certain group of people. Prejudice is a feeling about a person based on their membership in a group.

People are often biased against others outside of their own social group or beliefs, showing prejudice (emotional bias), stereotypes (cognitive bias), and discrimination (behavioral bias). In the past, people used to be more explicit with their biases, but during the 20th century, when it became less socially acceptable to exhibit bias, such things like prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination became more subtle (automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent). In the 21st century, however, with social group categories even more complex, biases may be transforming once again creating a real danger to our society as a whole.  Acceptance of racism, stereotyping, and prejudice created a culture of hate.

Everyone wants to be seen for who they are, not how a group of people put other people into groups, using that label to inform their evaluation of the person as a whole—a process that can result in serious consequences. This focuses on biases against social groups, creating emotional prejudices, mental stereotypes, and behavioral discrimination.  This causes people to have a negative, emotional reaction to a social group (prejudice) without knowing even the most superficial reasons to dislike them (stereotypes).

Animal Activist authoritarianism focuses on hate that opening endorse aggression against animal enterprises or groups that does not conform with their propaganda or beliefs. In-group favoritism is an ambiguous form of bias because it disfavors the outgroup by exclusion. Blatant biases are conscious beliefs, feelings, and behavior that animal activist are perfectly willing to admit, are mostly hostile, and openly favor their own group.

There are common stereotypes of people from all sorts of categories and occupations that lead them to be classified as two dimensional, stereotyped as not having good intentions (perhaps exploitative for not trying to play by the rules), and likewise being incompetent (unable) to do anything as they see as right or useful.

Stereotypes, such as the belief that Private Zoos possess less capacities than Sanctuaries do or are otherwise inferior, may lead to discrimination. Stereotypes include positive and negative attributes, but only negative stereotypes generally lead to bias and discrimination. Discrimination ultimately results in treating individuals or groups unfairly based on perceived differences and inferiority without basis. 

In addition to positive stereotypes, such as viewing Sanctuaries superior in areas like animal care, animal knowledge and ability and academics level of care lead to discrimination. On the other hand, negative stereotypes, such as perceiving Private owners, circuses, private zoos inherently less skilled or capable, often lead to discrimination. Stereotypes may lead to discrimination as does prejudice, which is a negative view of certain groups.

Stereotyping can be devastating when people isolate themselves from the environment, from animals and nature, or from each other due to the prejudice created by these Animal Activist groups.   These groups consequence of categorical thinking is its tendency to distort perceptions. Typically, these distortions take the form of minimizing differences within categories and exaggerating differences between their beliefs and facts. These assimilation and contrast effects have been observed in a wide variety of domains, including social media, lawsuits, harassment, and law changes.

The differences between groups will tend to be exaggerated. Moreover, if these differences are consistent with well-known stereotypes, the distortion in perception may be highly resistant to change. In one study, for example, participants were unable to break free of stereotypes even when encouraged to do so for fear of reprisal.

The roots of prejudice are many and varied. Some of the deepest and most intensively studied roots include personality factors such as right-wing activist authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, cognitive factors such as the human tendency to think categorically, motivational factors such as the need for self-esteem, and social factors such as uncharitable ingroup attributions for outgroup behavior. Once activated, stereotypes can powerfully affect social perceptions and behavior as we have seen in the PETA, HSUS or BCR agendas against Circuses, private zoos or private owners.

In many cases the immediate effects of stereotype fade after a few minutes, but regardless of their duration, it reinforces stereotypic thinking in the long run.  Additionally, evidence suggests that once a person or organization stereotypes, it can be reactivated by something as simple as a disagreement with someone in the stereotyped group, and if brought to mind frequently enough, can become chronically. Thus, even though some animal activist-based stereotypes may seem harmless when considered individually, their cumulative effect over time can be substantial.  This can lead to bias even racist tendencies.

Although some stereotypes are grounded in truth, many are distortions that arise from otherwise adaptive modes of thought.  Under these conditions, people significantly overestimated the frequency of undesirable behaviors creating a false narrative. 

Stereotypes are learned at an early age and can be stubbornly resistant to change, once stereotypes are learned — whether from the media, family members, direct experience, or elsewhere — they sometimes take on a life of their own and become “self-perpetuating stereotypes”. 

Yet all is not lost. Studies indicate that stereotypes can be successfully reduced and social perceptions made more accurate when people are motivated to do so.  One of the most effective ways to do this is with empathy. Simply by taking the perspective of animal caregivers and “looking at the world through their eyes,”  bias and stereotype accessibility can be significantly reduced.  By targeting experiences, it “gives a voice to target groups, validates their experiences, helps pinpoint their unique strengths and weaknesses, and can potentially increase empathy for the targets of prejudice in today’s society.”

Another powerful method of reducing prejudice and discrimination is to establish laws, regulations, and social norms mandating fair treatment and expectations or rules for acceptable behavior in a given situation, and research suggests that even one person’s public support for anti-bias norms is enough to move other people in that direction.   An individual’s support for anti-prejudice norms can sway the opinions of highly prejudiced people as well as those medium or low in prejudice.

As the world becomes more interconnected—more collaborations between cities, states, countries, more intermarrying between different groups—more and more people are encountering greater diversity of others in everyday life.  We have an impact on the world and people around us.  Identities are not so simple, but maybe as the 21st century unfurls, we will recognize each other by the content of our character instead of the group we belong to.

By Kathy Stearns



Get Closer To The Animals