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ATTITUDES TOWARDS IMMIGRANTS:

CLASSICAL AND MODERN PREJUDICE HELD BY THE POLICE

Andre Vella

Dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Psychology (HON)

University of Malta April 2010

ii

Declaration

I hereby declare that this dissertation is entirely my own work, carried out under the supervision of Dr. Marilyn Clark.

Andre Vella April 2010

iii

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the following persons for contributing to this paper:

My tutor, Dr. Marilyn Clark, for her expertise of the social sciences and encouragement throughout the course of writing this dissertation.

Dr. Liberato Camilleri for helping with the statistical analysis which found itself on his desk.

And my father for proofreading this thesis repeatedly.

In loving memory of Carmel and Margaret Vella, may you find peace.

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Abstract

Research on prejudice and discrimination distinguishes between modern (inconspicuous and tends to be more socially accepted) and classical (old-fashioned blatant) prejudice (Sears, 1988).

This study aims to distinguish between these two forms of prejudice elicited by the police towards immigrants. The correlation between modern and classical prejudice will be investigated. It will also explore whether variables such as rank, gender, age and experience in the Police Force influence prejudice.

The police officers' perceptions were measured through a standardized research tool adapted from Akrami et al. (2005) where that study sought to research the attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. In this case, the research tool was adapted to the Maltese police force’s perception towards another minority group, i.e. immigrants. The participants were given the questionnaires at their corresponding police station in nine districts around Malta.

Results obtained support the hypothesis that modern and classical forms of prejudice are correlated but distinguishable. Moreover, the variables did not prove significant, suggesting that the Maltese police force is a homogenous group and the existence of a police subculture.

Keywords: Malta, police, prejudice, racism, immigrants

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Table of Contents

Declaration of Authenticity

ii

Acknowledgements

iii

Abstract

iv

Contents

v

Chapter 1: Introduction

1

1.1 Preamble

1

1.2 Research Agenda and Hypothesis

2

1.3 Rationale

3

1.4 Methodology

3

1.5 Overview of chapters

4

Chapter 2: Literature Review

5

2.1 Prejudice, Stereotypes and Discrimination

5

2.2 Understanding Attitudes, Prejudice and Stereotyping

8

2.2.1 Social Learning Theory

8

2.2.2 Social Cognitive Perspective

10

2.2.3 Social Dominance Theory

10

2.2.4 Authoritarian Personality

12

2.2.5 Modern and Classical Prejudice

13

2.3 Police Culture and Immigration

15

vi

2.4

Conclusion

16

Chapter 3: Methodology

3.1 Introduction

18

3.2 Approach

18

3.3 Research Tool

18

3.4 Sampling

19

3.5 Procedure

19

3.6 Analysis

20

 

3.7 Ethics

20

3.8 Conclusion

21

Chapter 4: Results

22

4.1 Introduction

22

4.2 Sample Population

23

4.3 Comparison of Attitudes on Modern and Classical Prejudice

27

4.4 Correlation between Classical Prejudice and Modern Prejudice

29

4.5 Correlation between the 3 components of Modern Prejudice

31

4.6 Gender and Prejudice

32

4.7 Age and Prejudice

34

4.8 The Influence of Rank

35

4.9 Length Experience in the Police Force

36

vii

Chapter 5: Discussion

40

5.1 Introduction

40

5.2 Of Modern Prejudice and Police Culture

40

5.3 Conclusion

44

Chapter 6: Conclusion

45

6.1 Summary of the Study

45

6.2 Limitations of the Study

45

6.3 Recommendations for Further Research

46

6.4 Final Note

46

References

48

Appendix

53

viii

List of Tables

Table 1 Gender, Age, Rank, Years in the police Force and District descriptive statistics 23

Table 2 Correlation between Classical and Modern prejudice

30

Table 3 Correlations between the 3 components of Modern prejudice

31

Table 4 Correlations between gender and prejudice

32

Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice

34

Table 6 Correlations between rank and prejudice

35

Table 7 Correlations between years in the police force and prejudice

36

Table 8 Correlations between districts and prejudice

37

List of Graphs

Figure 1 Gender

24

Figure 2 Age

25

Figure 3 Rank

25

Figure 4 Experience in the Police Force

26

Figure 5 Districts in Malta

26

Figure 6 Mean Rating Scores of Classical Prejudice Items

27

Figure 7 Mean rating scores of Classical Prejudice Items

28

Figure 8 Scatter plot representation

30

Figure 9 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to gender

33

Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to age

34

Figure 11 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to rank

35

Figure 12 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to years in the police force

36

1

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Preamble

Prejudice is a complicated term, which holds much political baggage, as it is often used to imply

a negative human trait. Prejudice is nothing more than an ill-directed preconception about human

nature, and nothing less than a demeaning attitude borne of irrational hostility. Usually, it is minority

groups who suffer from the effects of prejudice, since these are perceived as a threat to dominant

culture. Research relating to prejudice is a pressing necessity today. Paradoxically this is also a topic of

study we all fervently hope will no longer be needed (Taylor, 1994). Humanity has a tendency to repeat

its mistakes continuously in history, a Sisyphusian task with no end, and the eradication of prejudice

seems hopeless and impossible to achieve. The absurdity does not lie in vainly attempting to push the

rock of prejudice over the hill, but in consciously finding the burden again at the foot of the mountain.

Yet as Albert Camus puts it, the resilient effort of studying prejudice to lessen its impact has its own

quality, especially in trying to reduce, or even eliminate prejudice at its source within the bigot (Camus,

1942; Dion, 2003).

Research shows that prejudice may be divided in two; Classical prejudice is characterised by

openness and an overt nature. It is easily observed, for example through racial profiling or an open

resentment of interracial marriages. Modern prejudice is more inconspicuous, as if it is secret and

hidden. People who deny the existence of prejudice when it is present are giving an example of

modern prejudice. This study will attempt to show that these two types of prejudice are intricately

connected to the extent that they cannot be separated. Considering the police force is responsible for

upholding the law in all parts of society, it would be interesting to investigate if police officers hold

2

prejudiced sentiments, and whether these are classified as classical or modern. Thus the police are the

main subject of this study.

1.2 Research Agenda and Hypothesis

The present research will explore whether the members of the Malta Police Force exhibit

classical or modern prejudice towards immigrants, and whether these attitudes are correlated. It will

also explore whether variables such as rank, gender, age and experience in the Police Force are

significant in the expression (if any) of prejudice.

The results obtained will accept or reject the research hypotheses. The null hypothesis (H 0 ) states

that there will be no significant difference, and therefore the observed changes can be attributed to

chance alone (Coleman, 2001). The hypotheses tested are the following:

1. There will be significant difference between classical prejudice rating scores and modern

prejudice scores.

2. There will be significant difference between the three components of modern prejudice: denial

of continuing prejudice, antagonism towards minority groups’ demands and resentment about

special favours.

3. There will be significant difference between the male and female police officer mean rating

scores.

4. There will be significant differences between the mean rating scores of different age groups.

5. There will be significant difference between the mean rating score of constables and that of

higher-ranking officers mean rating scores.

3

6. There will be significant differences between the mean rating scores of police officers, according

to the amount of years working in the police force.

7. There will be significant differences between the mean rating scores of different districts.

1.3 Rationale

The context of Maltese culture is stained by racist attitudes towards immigrants coming from

Africa (Abela, 1999; Halel, 2001). Yet the reasons for these attitudes differ depending on the individual

holding them. Police officers may too experience prejudiced beliefs, and this study was meant to

provide insight into this cognitive conflict of upholding the law and treating citizens equally whilst

holding these prejudiced attitudes.

As old-fashioned prejudice is frowned upon in contemporary Western culture, the same bigoted

attitudes are being vented out through modern prejudice. This study aims to distinguish between

classical and modern prejudice, and to analyze the characteristics which influence attitude rating scores,

such as gender, age and rank of the Maltese police force. There is a limitless amount of literature on the

subject of racism or prejudice in relation to the police, and most of it points towards a racist element

within the police force (Chu, Song & Dombrink, 2005; Colman, 1983; Sigelman, Welch, Bledsoe, Combs,

1997). Thus this study explores the attitudes held by the police of Malta.

1.4

Methodology

This is a quantitative study, in which a self-report attitude scale with a Likert scoring system was

administered to the nine districts in Malta. The research tool is an adaptation of Akrami et al.’s (2005)

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where that study sought to investigate the attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities. In this

case, the research tool was used to investigate the police force’s perception toward another minority

group, i.e. immigrants.

Not all police officers participated in the study, and obtaining the full register of officers was not

permitted by the authorities. The Maltese police force comprises of 1871 officers. Around 400

questionnaires were distributed in police stations of each district and in the General Headquarters

(GHQ). 186 questionnaires were collected, including officers who have desk-jobs at the GHQ, those

assigned to specialised divisions (such as Traffic and Vice Squad) and others assigned to local police

station duties. However a sampling error could be present due to the fact that sampling was not

statistically random. The non-probability sampling technique used is identified primarily by convenience,

as the police officers participated on a voluntary basis. The advantage of this method is that since police

officers participated on a voluntary basis, the responses elicited tend to be more accurate, although the

social desirability effect is always present.

1.5 Overview of chapters

Chapter

2

will

encompass

the

literature

review

on

the

subject

of

prejudice

and

some

explanations of these expressed attitudes in relation to the criminal justice system. Chapter 3 explores

the methodology adopted in the study. The results will be presented in chapter 4. Chapter 5 consists of

the discussion. Chapter 6 is the conclusion, and includes recommendations for research and policy.

5

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Prejudice, Stereotypes and Discrimination

Prejudice exists in a variety of forms; against women, LGBT, foreigners and disabled people

amongst others. Prejudice is defined as a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or

situation, an attitude (usually negative) towards members of some group, based solely on their

membership of that group (Baron, Byrne & Johnson, 1998; Marshall, 1998). Whether prejudice is against

or in favour of something, it is an unfair feeling (or opinion) created without thinking deeply and clearly.

Therefore the individual’s behaviour and identity exist in a predefined context, so we judge that

individual in the realm of our biased sentiments. Positive or negative, our subjective views give meaning

to what we observe, but the effects of our modes of thinking might not be so clear at first sight.

In modern studies of prejudice, Allport’s (1956) definition focuses on the social phenomena in the

realm of group dynamics:

Ethnic prejudice is an antipathy based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization. It may be felt or

expressed. It may be directed towards a group as a whole or towards an individual because he is a

member of that group. (p. 9)

This particular definition focuses on racial prejudice, and this is also the subject of the study. It is

impossible to objectively criticise an attitude scientifically, but only on moral grounds. At some point in

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our lives, we have confronted or witnessed prejudicial behaviour. The nature of prejudice varies in

degree of severity, and examples differ from mild aversions to intense hatred.

Prejudice is manifested at the affective level through attitudes. These are internalised thoughts

that individuals hold, which are then expressed into actions through discrimination. The negative

evaluations of prejudice are reflected in stereotypes. An attitude affects how we perceive and respond

to the world (DeLamater & Myers, 2007). It will form part of a network of other beliefs which create

consistency, propelling the individual to act in a certain way. The individual will naturally attempt to

achieve consistency (Festinger, 1957). Nevertheless these networks of beliefs have the ability to become

obsolete; in fact we can see how attitudes may change over time. This property of prejudice, that it is

susceptible to change, is not fully comprehended in its many definitions, giving the impression that

prejudice is a stable and unmovable attitude (Brown, 2000).

Are attitudes always consistent with one’s cognitions? According to the theory of cognitive

dissonance coined by Festinger, one may experience simultaneous cognitions about oneself, one’s

behaviour or environment which psychologically oppose each other (Festinger, 1957).

When that

occurs, one tries to solve this tension by achieving consonance between cognitions. This can be done by

changing one of the cognitions to reduce dissonance and rationalize one’s behaviour (Coleman, 2001;

Festinger, 1957; Baron, Byrne & Johnson, 1998).

When the reasons for behaving against one’s

cognitions are weak, the greater the dissonance experienced and the greater the “motivation to alter

the underlying attitude in order to restore the consistency” (Cardwell, 2003, p. 49).

Stereotypes are “relatively fixed and oversimplified generalizations” (Colman, 2001, p. 706)

about a group, and are therefore applied to the members of that group. Like prejudice, it usually

7

emphasis a negative trait, and are used to inflate or generate an image. The word stereotype came into

being to describe an apparatus used in printing. It was a solid metallic plate used to produce duplicate

impressions. Then Lippmann used a metaphor of this device to explain the act of making generalizations

about a group of people from the first impressions we make (Lippmann, 1922). Stereotypes can be

classified as either negative or positive, where the former propagates negative traits and are difficult to

dislodge, whilst the latter propagate positive traits and are easily reversible.

Stereotypes serve as mental shortcuts, reducing the cognitive effort we have to wield to analyse

and understand our surroundings; and these prejudgements are inevitable (Myers, 1999). As we are

interpreting the behaviour of others, idiosyncratic conduct is attributed to external forces to keep our

initial stereotype intact. Yet when we are receiving inconsistent information about a held stereotype,

instead of changing our belief system we form a new category to explain this cognitive incongruity

(Hinton, 2000). This is called sub-typing (Coleman, 2001).

Discrimination, although used interchangeably with prejudice, is not synonymous with the term.

Discrimination is the manifestation of prejudice in the behavioural domain, an unfair treatment

“towards members of a categorised group in comparison to members of other groups” (Cardwell, 2007,

p. 77; Weiten & Lloyd, 2006; DeLamater & Myers, 2007; Brown, 2000), and stigmatized people react

differently to the stimuli of discrimination (Kaiser & Miller, 2001). They can internalize the negative

external beliefs or overcome the effects of discrimination. Prejudice may exist without discrimination as

much as discrimination may exist without prejudice. A police officer might hold prejudiced attitudes

against Sub-Saharan immigrants, but he would not treat them unfairly. Likewise a constable may carry

out stop and searches on immigrants without a valid reason because he knows his supervisor is

watching him discrimination without prejudice.

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Discrimination is a multi-faceted concern. Apart from prejudiced attitudes, discrimination can be

caused by environmental influences or social pressures. In addition to the complexity of the concept,

literature

on

the

coping

strategies

of

discrimination

victims

is

scarce

(Herbert

et

al.,

2008).

Discrimination can occur at different levels, ranging from antagonism towards minority group’s demands

to aggressive assaults (Akrami, Ekehammar, Claesson, Sonnander, 2005). Dawson’s (2009) literature

review distinguished between the “chronic discriminatory stressors such as everyday discrimination, and

acute discriminatory stressors such as major racist events” (p. 97).This variance of discrimination will be

discussed when modern discrimination is compared to classical discrimination.

2.2 Understanding Attitudes, Prejudice and Stereotyping

This study focuses on the psycho-social explanations to understand prejudice, basing the

assumption that psychological responses are products of the interaction between an individual and

one’s environment (Pratto, Lemieux, Glasford, Henry, 2003). Social cognition is the cognitive activity

which accompanies and mediates social behaviour, including the acquisition of the information about

the environment, the organization and transformation of this information into memory, and its effects

on social behaviour (Coleman, 2001).

2.2.1 Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura was the leading exponent of the Social Learning Theory which attempts to

explain how people learn behaviour within a social context

The environment can reinforce a specific

behaviour through a model (Miltenberger, 2008). If learning is not a product of direct experience, but

through observation, it is referred to as vicarious learning (Nathan & & Kovoor-Misra, 2002; Ormrod,

9

2004; Coleman, 2001). When one witnesses an action, the behaviour is either reinforced (proactive) or

punished

(inhibitive)

according

to

the consequences

of the model’s behaviour

(Bandura, 1999),

especially if the model is a significant other (Shakib & Dunbar, 2004). Thus when a high rank police

officer behaves in a certain manner, the other subordinate police officers will be more likely to model

that behaviour.

According to McLeod and Wainwright (2008), human behaviour can be “predicted by the two

general factors: the expectancy of reward and the associated value of reward”. Thus the consequences

have indirect effects on learning that will ultimately influence the extent to which the observer will

exhibit a behaviour that has been learned (Ormrod, 2004). In case of deviant misconduct, sanctions can

take two forms, social (such as fear of punishment) and personal through self-evaluative reactions

(Bandura, Caprara & Zsolnai, 2000).

Cognition plays an important role in learning. The expectation of reinforcement influences

cognitive processes that promote learning (McLeod & Wainwright, 2008; Ormrod, 2004). The greater

the perception that there is a “connection with what people do and with what happens to them”, the

more internally controlled they are (McLeod & Wainwright, 2008, p. 67), which is the basis of self-

efficacy. The behavioural intentions depend on the knowledge and the likelihood that a behaviour will

lead to a specific outcome (Wdowik, Kendall, Harris, Keim, 2000). To recapitulate, the core factors of

social learning theory are (i) the knowledge of the behavioural consequence, (ii) perceived self-efficacy,

(iii) outcome expectations, (iv) goals we set for ourselves and (v) environmental context (Bandura,

2004). However learning can occur without an alteration in behaviour, thus it is difficult to test this

theory using quantitative research methods (Rebellon, 2006). A police officer might engage in racial

profiling more often, if this behaviour is encouraged and rewarded by his superiors.

10

2.2.2 Social Cognitive Perspective

Schemas form the basis of attitudes, and are essential for the organization, recalling and

interpreting knowledge (Reed, 2007; Galotti, 2008; Ashcraft, 2006). As already noted, prejudice and

attitudes are theoretically indistinguishable; therefore the concept of schemata is relevant in light of

attitude formation mechanisms. When we think of a particular group, cognitively we are retrieving

information from schemata; and that information is used to determine our attitudes and expectations of

that particular group or members of that group.

The normal processes of perception are relevant in the area of prejudice as well, including the

concept of attribution. “Attribution is the assignment of causes to behaviour” (Coleman, 2001, p. 63).

We infer causation based on personal dispositional factors or external situational factors. In a situation

where an immigrant is caught breaking the law, outside factors explaining his behaviour include poverty

or lack of opportunities for legal employment. Personal dispositional factors include that the reason why

the immigrant is breaking the law is because the immigrant has innate criminal tendencies.

2.2.3 Social Dominance Theory (SDT)

According to this theory, society is seen as a community made of groups; but unlike in an

egalitarian system, not all groups have equal distribution of wealth. Therefore there are elite and

subordinate groups, and some groups are socially dominant over others. It is “defined as one’s

generalized desire for group’s dominance as opposed to intergroup equality” (Pratto, Lemieux, Glasford,

Henry, 2003, p. 3; Henry, P. J., Sidanius, J., Levin, S., Pratto, F., 2005). Groups are constructed according

to common characteristics such as ethnicity, religion and social class. Movement of a group from

11

different social strata is uncommon (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). “SDT defines three types of social

stratification systems: an age system where adults and older individuals command more resources and

power than the younger, a gender system in which men possess greater status and power than women,

and an arbitrary set system in which socially constructed, arbitrarily defined categories (e.g., races,

occupations, social classes, nationalities) enjoy disproportionately more status and power over other

socially constructed categories” (Dion, 2003, p. 520).

Arbitrary set hierarchies develop during time of economic surplus, in which authoritarian figures

run in families through the use of fear and violence to control their subordinates. There are three basic

tenets for SDT, (1) that individuals have a predisposition to form groups, (2) that in society there are

forces that promote inequality, hierarchy-enhancing (HE) forces, and forces that favour social equality,

called hierarchy-attenuating (HA) forces and (3) HE and HA forces find equilibrium in society (Dion,

2003). As a result, the common behaviours of these groups diverge and form the relationships among

them.

Social Dominance Theory is the basis for the Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) Scale, which

attempts to measure attitudes intergroup relations. The scale was created to be valid across different

political and social contexts by referring to abstract groups in the items. Analysis of SDO results show

that individual differences are accounted by four factors; which are group status, gender, socialization

and temperament (Dion, 2003).

In other words, members of higher social status, men and aggressive

individuals with low educational achievement tend to score higher in SDO.

12

2.2.4 Authoritarian Personality

One of the main theories that links personality traits to prejudice is that proposed by Adorno in

his work “The Authoritarian personality”. It was an attempt to account for Hitler’s anti-Semitism

movement, a psycho-political proposal. Since police officers are responsible for maintaining order and

controlling crime, this line of career tends to attract people who are relatively more conservative and

authoritarian when compared to socioeconomic similar citizens (Coleman, 1983).

Generally, the authoritarian personality is created under specific circumstances, brought about

by rearing of children in very strict environments. Adorno et al. (1950) postulated the origins being

when: (1) parents discipline their children harshly, (2) parents emphasize duties and obligations instead

of affection in child-parent relationships, (3) parents make their love dependent on their child’s

unquestionable obedience and (4) parents were status oriented” (as cited in Millon, Lerner & Weiner,

2003, p. 509). This environment presupposes that children grow up to view the world in extreme

dualism, i.e. they think in either absolute wrong or absolute right.

As part of the original theory of authoritarian personality, there was the F (for fascism) scale; a

personality scale that attempted to validate the theory (Sears, 1988). It is supposed to measure one’s

right-wing political ideology, which is correlated with prejudicial beliefs. It is a matter of traditional

values, where liberals opt for values of equal protection for civil liberties while conservatives advocate

values of individualism (Sears, 1988; Henry & Sears, 2003). Altemeyer (2006) revised the F scale and

constructed another version which is more conceptually appropriate. The right wing authoritarianism

(RWA) scale has proved to be more focused on social learnining theory than psychoanalytic concepts.

“High scorers (from RWA) submit to established authority more than most people do, aggress more in

13

the name of such authority, and are much more conventional” (Altemeyer, 2006, p. 15). The concept is

characterised by (i) “authoritarian submission”, which is an overstated compliance to authority figures

(ii)

“authoritarian

aggression”,

which

means

contempt

towards

insubordinates

and

(iii)

“conventionalism”, which refers to the traditional values that promote authoritarianism (Weiten &

Lloyd, 2006, p. 182). Altemeyer concluded that the authoritarian personality is based on two factors,i.e.

group perception (with intergroup bias) and the self-righteous belief (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006; Altemeyer,

2006; Altemeyer, n.d.). It seems that the authoritarian concept and in particular RWA, focuses on

personality as the origin of prejudice, and according to Hollin (2002) the police officer’s personality is

strongly correlated with authoritarianism.

2.2.5 Modern and Classical Prejudice

Part of the difficulty in defining prejudice is related to its nature to change over time (Sears,

1988; Henry & Sears, 2002). In the past, minority groups were segregated and slavery was the social

norm, now discrimination became unlawful. What this means is the old-fashioned hostile discrimination

decreased (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006), but did not disappear. Instead, the cultural climate evolved and a

new way to express prejudice emerged, generally known as modern prejudice (Sears, 1988). However

there are many different terms to define this notion as Henry and Sears (2002) points out in his study;

such as symbolic racism by Sears (1988), modern racism by McConahay (1986), racial resentment by

Kinder & Sandars (1996), subtle racism by Pettigrew (2000), aversive racism by Gaertner and Dovidio

(1986), racial ambivalence by Katz and Hass (1988) and laissez-faire racism by Bobo, Klueyal and Smith

(1997). All these have distinct characteristics but are based on the same idea whereby people became

more egalitarian in principle but still have prejudiced attitudes (Henry & Sears, 2002). This also provides

a challenge for researchers, as new conceptual frameworks need to be constructed to adapt appropriate

14

research tools, as respondents need to grasp both the literal and pragmatic meaning of the questions

(Gomez & Trierweiler, 2001).

According to Sears (1988), modern prejudice or symbolic racism is characterized by three

clusters of beliefs. The first set revolves around antagonism towards the manner that a particular

minority group is requesting demands, such as the perceived help given to them by society. Secondly

there is the hostility towards positive discrimination of minority groups, such as special support provided

by social policies. Thirdly, there is the denial of continuing discrimination (Akrami, Ekehammar,

Claesson, Sonnander, 2005). In the questionnaire used there are items which measure each category.

“The theory specifies that symbolic racism stems from some combination of anti-Black affect and

traditional values, most notably individualism” (Henry & Sears, 2003, p. 260). The term symbolic racism

stems from the fact that racial aversion is viewed in light of a culturally belief system formed from the

early learned traditional values (Henry & Sears, 2002). This theory was born in the attempt of trying to

explain political prejudiced attitudes.

Are modern prejudice and classical prejudice truly independent? “Symbolic racism presumably

has a strong component of non-racial traditional values, whereas old-fashioned racism does not, so they

should be statistically independent” (Sears, 1988, p. 61). Yet they have the same conceptual etymology

which means that they should be correlated. And many studies proved to show that many respondents

who scored high on modern prejudice tended to oppose liberal racial policies (Henry & Sears, 2002).

Modern prejudice or implicit bias, are made up of personal beliefs that lie outside our awareness. These

may permeate in our behaviour, especially in our political decisions unnoticed, in fact even when

directly asked about these opinions people will negate they have them (Bower, 2006).

15

2.3 Police Culture and Immigration

Usually when the police are mentioned in the news coverage, they are mentioned because they

infringe

human rights (Bracey, 2002). “Historically, the relations between the police and ethnic

minorities have been fraught with problems of insensitivity, misunderstanding and miscommunication”

(Davis, Erez & Avitabile, 2001, p. 185). However human rights are not always clear to follow, and when

police officers find themselves in the middle of controversial situations, the code of correct conduct

seems to violate human rights.

Immigration is bringing ethnic diversity and promoting multiculturalism in our society, and it is

becoming the norm rather than the exception (Bracey, 2002; Taylor, 1994). Moreover, the criminal

justice system is proving to be an environment which ethnic diversity is being assimilated (Davis, Erez,

Avitabile, 2001). Inevitably, multiculturalism becomes an important issue to be discussed in the

circumstances of a criminal justice system that is Eurocentric. It is for these reasons that there is a

growing need of multicultural training in the criminal justice system to facilitate cultural diversity (Davis,

Erez & Avitabile, 2001).

The notion of police culture is formed by the attitudes and values police officers hold (Rowe,

2004). Research showed that this occupational subculture was endowed with elements of racism

(Sigelman, Welch, Bledsoe, Combs, 1997; Rowe, 2004). When communities carry racist predispositions,

the police are more likely to follow suit (Crank, 1998). Subsequently, police officers will internalize these

racist values in accordance with their authoritarian personalities, and adopt an attitude in which they

believe that holding implicit negative bias is expected from the police force (Nelson, 2000). Allport

(1954) had mentioned socio-cultural conditions as moderators of prejudice. However there can also be

16

the possibility that only a few police officers are indeed racist, and these are giving a bad name to the

whole force. Another notion to take into account is that these racist cultural properties of the police

force are being exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Yet the fact remains that racial profiling is a

growing concern in society where coloured individuals are perceived more suspiciously than their

Caucasian counterparts (Barlow & Barlow, 2002). Police cultures can only exist if a set of values are

common across the force, and evidence such as Coleman and Gorman (1982) suggests that police

officers have scored significantly higher for intolerant attitudes than their control subjects. Even a police

officer can be racist against a member of one’s own racial group (Crank, 1998).

Institutional racism is term was used extensively in the MacPhearson report, a publication

issued after a notorious inquiry left a lot to desire from the British police. The case revolved around the

homicide

of

Stephen

Lawrence,

a

black

teenager

who

was

beaten

to

death

in

London. Police

automatically assumed it was a gang-related offense, and did not investigate the case as it should have.

Finally, it transpired that it was not a gang-related incident, but a hate crime committed by a group of

Caucasian

youngsters.

The

police’s

sloppy

work

divulged

into

the

court

proceedings

and

the

perpetrators were not convicted. As a result Sir William MacPherson headed an inquiry and concluded

that the police force was institutionally racist (Hendricks & Bryers, 1994). It refers to the practices and

policies which promote inequality, and carrying them out entails engaging in discriminatory activity.

Institutional racism is widely documented (Crank, 1998) and supported by empirical evidence that

suggests that African Americans are more likely to be pulled over by the police, or to be treated more

harshly by the criminal justice system (Siegel, 2006).

2.3.1 Racial discrimination as addressed in the Maltese Criminal Code

17

The history of legislation regarding racism in Malta is rather short. Racial discrimination only

became a criminal offense in 1996, and in Malta discrimination is mostly manifested against “Arabs,

women and people with a different sexual orientation” (Abela, 2004, p. 23). Prior this date, any racial

discrimination could not be addressed except though the remedies offered by the Constitutional Court

(Muscat, 2007). Legislation had the latest changes in regard of this in issue with Legal Notice 85/2007,

entitled “Order of Equal Treatment of Persons”. This meant that police officers have to communicate

with

a

new

authority,

i.e.

National Commission for Promotion of

Equality

(Muscat,

2007).

The

commission can start investigations at will, and anyone guilty of breaking the law and committing racist

crimes is liable to a fine of 1000 Maltese liri or to imprisonment for not more than six months, or to both

fine and imprisonment (Legal notice 85 of 2007). Discrimination means direct or indirect discrimination

based on ethnic origin and includes both act and omission (Muscat, 2007). In 2002 a new criminal

offence was introduced on racial incitement in the article 82A of the Criminal Code, where “who uses

words or behaves that threatens…

with

the intent to incite racial hatred”. Racial hatred is defined as

“hatred against a group of people in Malta with reference to their racial, colour, ethnic and national

(including citizenship) origins” (Criminal code, 2002).

2.4 Conclusion

Prejudice is represented by the affective, emotion-relating part of human nature. Discrimination

belongs to the observable domain of behaviour. Social cognition theory offers an explanation for the

contribution of cognitions in our understanding of prejudice. If these are sons of the same earth, then

what is this earth? If the affective, behavioural and cognitive parts form the self, then what is the self in

terms of prejudice?

18

Chapter 3: Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter will focus on the methodology used to conduct this study. The approach, research

tool, sampling and data collecting procedure will be discussed, as well as some ethical considerations.

3.2

Approach

The main aim of the study is to distinguish between two forms of prejudice elicited by the police

towards immigrants, i.e. the inconspicuous modern form and the more blatant classical type. This is a

quantitative study, in which a self-report attitude scale with a Likert scoring system was administered to

the nine districts in Malta. Since attitudes are being recorded, a quantitative approach was choosen.

3.3 Research Tool

Originally it is based on Sears’ (1988) classification system (denial of continued discrimination;

antagonism towards out-group demands; lack of support for policies designed to help out-group), and

later on also used by Akrami et al. to study attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.

Random items were reversed when coded and all of them were randomly mixed within each scale. The

items of all scales were answered on 5-step Likert-type scales ranging from strongly disagree (1) to

strongly agree (5). The first section is concerned with gathering demographic information about the

19

items measuring modern prejudice, for the total of 19 items as presented in the Appendix. The modern

items are divided into 3:

(i)

Items 4, 8, 9 and 10 measure Denial of continuing discrimination;

(ii)

Items 2,3,6,7 and 11 measure Antagonism toward demand and;

(iii)

Items 1 and 5 measure resentment about special favours

3.4

Sampling

186 questionnaires were collected, and these comprise officers who sit behind desks at the

GHQ, those assigned to specialised divisions (such as Traffic or Vice Squad) and those assigned to local

police station duties. Most respondents were male (74.7%) and the rest (25.3%) female. In terms of age,

most respondents were between 25 and 35 years old and a great number were constables (68.3%). The

majority of them have been working between 10 and 20 years, and the biggest sample was from district

1. Due to the fact that sampling was not random, there is a possibility of a sampling error and the non-

probability sampling technique used is identified primarily by convenience, where although responses

tend to be more accurate there is still the chance of the social desirability effect.

3.5 Procedure

The participants were given the questionnaires at their corresponding police station, and all

instructions were presented on the questionnaire. Not all police officers participated in the study, and

obtaining the full register of officers was not permitted. Out of the total of 1871, around 450

questionnaires were mostly distributed in the central police stations of each district and the General

20

Headquarters (GHQ). The participants were given the questionnaires at their corresponding police

station, and all instructions were presented on the questionnaire.

3.6

Analysis

The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows.

Some items were reversely coded. Since the analysis required comparing means, one-way Anova

procedure was used to test the hypotheses. To increase the response rate of the questionnaire it was

decided to make a translation of Maltese, but this brings about internal consistency problems. Split-half

reliability is used to assess internal consistency, i.e. the degree to which different raters give consistent

estimates the same item. 15 participants volunteered to take the questionnaire in Maltese, and repeat

the same test in English after 1 week. Using this method, the constructs are divided into two sets, and

examines he correlation between the two parts.

A high coefficient entails correlation. If the split half

exceeds 0.7, the construct validity is validated. In this case the split half coefficient is 0.847, and as such

the study is said to be internally consistent.

3.7 Ethics

The research tool specified on the front page that the respondents should not sign their name to

ensure anonymity. They were also informed about the scope of the research and that the information

provided will be used solely for academic purposes. The instructions specified that the information

gathered shall be kept in the strictest confidence and all filled in questionnaires shall remain in safe

keeping. Consent was obtained from the Central Media Relations Unit (CMRU) before starting the study.

21

3.8 Conclusion

The aim of the chapter was to describe the approach chosen for the design, including sampling,

approach, research tool, analysis and internal consistency. In addition, the ethical considerations were

also taken into account.

22

Chapter 4: Results

4.1 Introduction

The programme Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the data gathered

through the attitude scale found in the Appendix. Strongly disagree corresponded to 1 while strongly

agree corresponded to 5. A one-way A-nova test produced the mean rating scores and P-values for the

data inputted, in order to test the hypotheses, which are the following:

1. There will be significant difference between classical prejudice rating scores and modern

prejudice scores.

2. There will be significant difference between the three components of modern prejudice: denial

of continuing prejudice, antagonism towards minority groups’ demands and resentment about

special favours.

3. There will be no significant difference between the male and female police officer mean rating

scores.

4. There will be significant differences between the mean rating scores of different age groups.

5. There will be significant difference between the mean rating score of constables and that of

higher-ranking officers mean rating scores.

6. There will be significant differences between the mean rating scores of police officers, according

to the amount of years working in the police force.

23

The results produced shall be presented in the following sections, starting with a description of the

sample. Then the results will be presented according to individual items. Finally the results relevant to

the hypotheses will be presented. However it is important to note that the research tool was not

standardised on a police population, therefore one cannot infer whether the police are prejudiced. The

results can only show the difference between modern and classical prejudice, and how much the

variables affect the attitudes.

4.2 Sample Population

Out of 186 respondents, 139 were male (75%) and 47 female (25%). There is a gap in the ratio

between men and women police officers. Most respondents were between 18 and 35 years (69.9%);

due to the early retirement option, most police officers are relatively young. The majority of

respondents were police constables (68%), there were very few sergeants or inspectors at their

respective police stations. Years in the police force was divided into 5 categories. The General

Headquarters is part of the first district, hence the biggest contributor to the study.

   

Frequency

Percent

Gender

Male

139

74.7

Female

47

25.3

Total

186

100.0

Age

18

- 25

56

30.1

25

- 35

74

39.8

35

- 45

34

18.3

More than 45

22

11.8

Total

186

100.0

Rank

Police constable

127

68.3

Higher ranks

59

31.7

Total

186

100

24

Years in the Police Force

0

- 2 years

22

11.8

2

- 5 years

42

22.6

 

5

- 10 years

37

19.9

10 - 20 years

54

29.0

More than 20 years

31

16.7

Total

186

100.0

District

District 1

47

25.3

District 2

15

8.1

District 3

16

8.6

District 4

16

8.6

District 5

17

9.1

District 6

25

13.4

District 7

15

8.1

District 8

15

8.1

District 9

20

10.8

Total

186

100.0

Table 1 Gender, Age, Rank, Years in the police Force and District descriptive statistics.

186 100.0 Table 1 Gender, Age, Rank, Years in the police Force and District descriptive statistics.

Figure 1 Gender

25

25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank

Figure 2 Age

25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank
25 Figure 2 Age Figure 3 Rank

Figure 3 Rank

26

26 Figure 4 Experience in the Police Force Figure 5 Districts in Malta
Figure 4 Experience in the Police Force
Figure 4 Experience in the Police Force

Figure 5 Districts in Malta

27

4.3 Comparison of Attitudes on Modern and Classical Prejudice

Comparison of Attitudes on Modern and Classical Prejudice Figure 6 Mean Rating Scores of Classical Prejudice

Figure 6 Mean Rating Scores of Classical Prejudice Items

The corresponding items are:

1. The basic reasons for many of the social and economic problems that immigrants in Malta suffer

from are due to their own mental weaknesses.

2. Even though there are some exceptions, it seems that most immigrants simply lack those

qualities that Maltese community members should have.

28

4. It would be unwise for a Maltese local to marry an immigrant.

5. Immigrants do not have the character strength that most of the Maltese have.

6. It seems that immigrants do not take the opportunities offered by society.

7. Like all people, immigrants have goals and meanings in their lives.

8. Immigrants often commit crimes.

The lowest mean scores, or less prejudiced attitudes, were found to be for items 3 and 7 (1.77 and 1.82

respectively). On the other hand, the highest score, or most prejudiced attitude was to found to be for

item 4 (4.04), relating to interracial marriage.

found to be for item 4 (4.04), relating to interracial marriage. Figure 7 Mean rating scores

Figure 7 Mean rating scores of Classical Prejudice Items

29

The corresponding items are:

1. Society takes more care of immigrants than is fair to other groups.

2. Immigrants are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights.

3. Immigrants have more to give to Maltese society than they have been given the opportunity to.

4. Most immigrants are no longer victims of discrimination in Malta.

5. It is the right of immigrants that sometimes get special support from society to find appropriate

jobs.

6. Immigrants are getting enough help from society.

7. Immigrants get too little attention from the media.

8. Immigrants are in general treated in the same way as Maltese locals in society.

9. Negative attitudes in society make the lives of immigrants difficult.

10. It is easy to understand that immigrants and their relatives still struggle against the injustice

they suffer in society.

11. There have been enough help given to immigrants.

These mean rating scores are predominantly higher than the classical prejudice mean rating scores, as

will be presented in the next section. The lowest mean rating score was for item 5 (2.38), about the

need for immigrants to get help in finding a job. The highest mean rating scores were found to be for

items 2 (4.51), 6 (4.53), 7 (4.32), and 11 (4.5).

4.4 Correlation between Classical Prejudice and Modern Prejudice

30

The Pearson Correlation co-efficient measures the relationship between two quantitative

variables. A correlation close to 1 indicates a strong positive correlation, and a correlation close to -1

indicates a strong negative correlation. A correlation close to 0 indicates no relationship at all. H 0 means

there is no correlation between the two quantitative variables. H 1 there is a relationship between the

two quantitative variables. The P-value is the criteria to determine whether to accept H 0 or H 1 . If the P-

value exceeds the 0.05 level of significance, H 0 is accepted. If the P-value is less than 0.05 level of

significance, H 1 is accepted.

Correlations

Modern Prejudice

Classical Prejudice

Pearson Correlation

.149

P-value (1-tailed)

.021

Sample Size

186

Table 2 Correlation between Classical and Modern prejudice

.021 Sample Size 186 Table 2 Correlation between Classical and Modern prejudice Figure 8 Scatter plot

Figure 8 Scatter plot representation

31

The Pearson correlation co-efficient for Classical and modern prejudice is 0.149. Since the

correlation is positive, respondents who are giving high scores for classical prejudice tend to give high

scores for modern prejudice. This is also displayed by the scatter plot. Since the P-value 0.021 is less

than the 0.05 level of significance we deduce that this relationship is significant and not attributed to

chance, hence it can be generalized.

4.5 Correlation between the 3 components of Modern Prejudice

The one-way Anova test is used to compare the various means of attitude scores between

several individual and demographic variables (such as gender, age and rank). H 0 indicates that the

difference in attitude score will not be significant. H 1 indicates that mean rating scores elicited by

different groups vary significantly. The P-value is the criterion to determine whether to accept H 0 or H 1 .

If the P-value exceeds the 0.05 level of significance, H 0 is accepted. If the P-value is less than 0.05 level of

significance, H 1 is accepted.

 

Correlations

 
 

Denial

Antagonism

Resentment

Denial

Pearson Correlation

1

.411

.060

P-value (1-tailed)

 

.000

.210

Sample Size

186

186

186

Antagonism

Pearson Correlation

.411

1

.006

P-value (1-tailed)

.000

 

.466

Sample Size

186

186

186

Resentment

Pearson Correlation

.060

.006

1

P-value (1-tailed)

.210

.466

 

Sample Size

186

186

186

Table 3 Correlations between the 3 components of Modern prejudice

32

The Pearson correlation co-efficient relating denial, antagonism and resentment are all positive,

indicating that respondents who are eliciting a high rating score for one type of modern prejudice tend

to give a high rating score for the other components of modern prejudice. The relationship between

denial and antagonism is a strong relationship (0.411) since the P-value is less than the 0.05 level of

significance. However, the relationships between denial and resentment (0.060) and antagonism and

resentment (0.006) are weak relationships because the corresponding P-values (0.210 and 0.466) both

exceed the 0.05 level of significance.

4.6 Gender and Prejudice

     

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

 
 

Lower

 

Mean

Std. Deviation

Bound

Upper Bound

P-value

Classical Prejudice

Male

2.8318

.57671

2.7351

2.9286

0.268

Female

2.7287

.45915

2.5939

2.8635

 

Modern Prejudice

Male

3.6950

.52780

3.6064

3.7835

0.978

Female

3.6925

.54990

3.5310

3.8539

 

Table 4 Correlations between gender and prejudice

33

33 Figure 9 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to gender It is evident from
33 Figure 9 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to gender It is evident from

Figure 9 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to gender

It is evident from the descriptive statistics table and cluster bar graph that the mean rating score

elicited for modern prejudice are significantly higher than those elicited for classical prejudice. This

conforms to what is found in literature. Moreover there is no gender bias for both classical and modern

prejudice. The P-values, 0.268 and 0.978 indicate that the mean rating scores elicited by males and

females for classical and modern prejudice are comparable and do not differ significantly (since the p-

values exceed the 0.05 criterion). As expected, the initial hypothesis that there is a significant difference

between male and female police officers is not accepted.

The 95% confidence interval (error bar) provides a range of values where the actual mean rating

score lies if the whole population if the police force (1871) had to be included in the study. The fact that

the error bars for males and females overlap explains why the on-way Anova test is not yielding a

significant result.

34

4.7 Age and Prejudice

   

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

 
       
 

Mean

Std. Deviation

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Minimum

P-Value

Classical Prejudice

18

- 25

2.7254

.47339

2.5987

2.8522

1.75

26

- 35

2.8243

.50972

2.7062

2.9424

1.50

0.406

36

- 45

2.9228

.60067

2.7132

3.1324

1.88

 

More than 45

2.7670

.75227

2.4335

3.1006

1.50

 

Modern Prejudice

18

- 25

3.6737

.49240

3.5418

3.8056

2.55

 

26

- 35

3.7789

.48946

3.6655

3.8923

2.73

0.234

36

- 45

3.5561

.67948

3.3191

3.7932

1.91

 

More than 45

3.6760

.49203

3.4579

3.8942

2.73

 

Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice

  Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in
  Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in
  Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in
  Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in
  Table 5 Correlations between age and prejudice Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in

Figure 10 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to age

There is no age bias for both classical and modern prejudice. The P-values, 0.406 and 0.234

indicate that the mean rating scores elicited by different age groups for classical and modern prejudice

35

do not differ significantly (since the p-values exceed the 0.05 criterion). The initial hypothesis that there

is significant difference between mean rating scores of different age groups is rejected.

4.8 The Influence of Rank

   

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

 
 

Mean

Std. Deviation

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

P-value

Classical Prejudice

Police constable

2.7825

.54763

2.6863

2.8786

.398

Higher ranks

2.8559

.55651

2.7109

3.0010

 

Modern Prejudice

Police constable

3.6776

.53509

3.5836

3.7716

.530

Higher ranks

3.7304

.52792

3.5928

3.8679

 

Table 6 Correlations between rank and prejudice

  Table 6 Correlations between rank and prejudice Figure 11 Mean rating scores of prejudice in

Figure 11 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to rank

There is hardly any rank bias for both classical and modern prejudice. The P-values, 0.398 and

0.530 indicate that the mean rating scores elicited by different age groups for classical and modern

prejudice do not differ significantly (since the p-values exceed the 0.05 criterion). The initial hypothesis

36

that there will be significant difference between the mean rating score of constables and that of higher-

ranking officers mean rating scores is rejected.

4.9 Length Experience in the Police Force

     

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

 
   

Mean

Std. Deviation

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

P-value

Classical Prejudice

0

- 2 years

2.6364

.52456

2.4038

2.8689

.307

2

- 4 years

2.8006

.48141

2.6506

2.9506

 

5

- 9 years

2.9392

.49355

2.7746

3.1037

10

- 19 years

2.7616

.50427

2.6239

2.8992

More than 20 years

2.8508

.75237

2.5748

3.1268

Modern Prejudice

0

- 2 years

3.5992

.49369

3.3803

3.8181

.385

2

- 4 years

3.7749

.46539

3.6299

3.9199

 

5

- 9 years

3.6413

.60452

3.4397

3.8428

10

- 19 years

3.7660

.54905

3.6161

3.9159

More than 20 years

3.5912

.51765

3.4013

3.7811

Table 7 Correlations between years in the police force and prejudice

Correlations between years in the police force and prejudice Figure 12 Mean rating scores of prejudice
Correlations between years in the police force and prejudice Figure 12 Mean rating scores of prejudice

Figure 12 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to years in the police force

37

There is hardly any bias for both classical and modern prejudice, depending on how many years

one has worked within the police force. The P-values, 0.307 and 0.385 indicate that the mean rating

scores elicited by different groups for classical and modern prejudice do not differ significantly (since the

p-values exceed the 0.05 criterion). The initial hypothesis that there will be significant differences

between the mean rating scores of police officers, according to the amount of years working in the

police force is rejected.

4.10 District Differences

   

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

 
 

Mean

Std. Deviation

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

P-value

Classical Prejudice

District 1

2.7606

.56676

2.5942

2.9270

.067

District 2

2.5667

.48382

2.2987

2.8346

 

District 3

2.7500

.66458

2.3959

3.1041

 

District 4

3.1094

.59665

2.7914

3.4273

District 5

2.7647

.44608

2.5354

2.9941

District 6

2.9750

.51665

2.7617

3.1883

District 7

2.8500

.51798

2.5632

3.1368

District 8

2.9250

.40861

2.6987

3.1513

District 9

2.5938

.55736

2.3329

2.8546

Modern Prejudice

District 1

3.6267

.52847

3.4715

3.7819

.164

District 2

3.8848

.23169

3.7565

4.0132

 

District 3

3.8011

.55865

3.5035

4.0988

District 4

3.5682

.72916

3.1796

3.9567

District 5

3.5401

.43536

3.3163

3.7639

District 6

3.8582

.50006

3.6518

4.0646

District 7

3.7697

.46082

3.5145

4.0249

District 8

3.8158

.52277

3.5263

4.1053

District 9

3.5045

.60552

3.2212

3.7879

Table 8 Correlations between districts and prejudice

38

38 Figure 13 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to district Although close, there is

Figure 13 Mean rating scores of prejudice in relation to district

Although close, there is no district bias for both classical and modern prejudice. The P-values,

0.067 and 0.164 ultimately indicate that the mean rating scores elicited by different groups for classical

and modern prejudice do not differ significantly (since the p-values exceed the 0.05 criterion), although

these results are the closest to yield significant differences. The initial hypothesis that there will be

significant differences between the mean rating scores of different districts is rejected.

When it comes to Classical prejudice, the highest rating score originated from District 4 (3.10).

Its central police station is situated in Cospicua. On the other hand, for modern prejudice, the highest

rating score is between Districts 2 (3.9), 3 (3.8), 6 (3.9) and 8 (3.8). Their respective central police

stations are Qormi, Paola, Sliema and Birkirkara.

39

When it concerns the lowest rating scores classical prejudice, District 2 (2.6) and District 9 (2.6)

have the lowest mean. Central police stations are Qormi and Mosta. On the other hand, the lowest

rating scores for modern prejudice are from Districts 5 (3.5) and 9 (3.5). The central police stations are

Żejtun and again Mosta.

To summarize, Mosta had the lowest scores on both classical and modern prejudice. Moreover,

Qormi had the highest rating scores for modern prejudice, but lowest scores for classical prejudice; and

Cospicua has the highest rating scores for classical prejudice, but the lowest scores for modern

prejudice.

40

Chapter 5: Discussion

5.1 Introduction

This chapter will focus on the interpretation and elaboration of the statistical results obtained,

with respect to the original hypothesis. The statistical figures do not support every hypothesis, some

were expected while others were not. The author’s opinion shall also be voiced accordingly.

5.2 Of Modern Prejudice and Police Culture

As noted in the literature review, there were different terms to refer to modern prejudice

(Henry & Sears, 2002). The variety of terms is due to the relatively new concept of modern prejudice.

Old definitions, although still relevant, are not enough to distinguish between classical and modern

prejudice. This does not entail that these have become obsolete, but that a new form of prejudice

emerged that needs to be investigated further, especially if one considers that social constructs change

over time. The usage of modern, or subtle prejudice is more befitting considering that as it is a new

terminology which refers to a new notion.

The first hypothesis states that classical and modern prejudice, although correlated, could be

distinguishable. As expected, the study confirms this claim (correlation equal to 0.021). Moreover the

rating scores for modern prejudice in every test are always higher than those of classical prejudice

indicating a new manifestation of prejudiced attitudes, as documented by Weiten & Lloyd (2006) and

41

Sears (1988). This is also in line with the research indicating a police culture having racist elements

(Rowe)

The

second

hypothesis

predicted

that

the

three

components

of

modern

prejudice

are

significantly similar because they are supposed to measure different aspects of the same attitude. The

results obtained support this hypothesis as well. The main implication would be that both classical and

modern prejudice derives from the same source, or that modern prejudice originated from classical

prejudice. In general terms this offers to be a challenge for anti-discrimination movements, because if

there are new socially acceptable ways to express prejudice, then it stands to reason that new

cognitions involved. Therefore one needs to adopt new methods to combat discrimination and raise

awareness about the issue. As for the police force of Malta, the highest scores were for “antagonism

towards immigrants’ demands”. According to the research on SDT theory (Pratto, Lemieux, Glasford,

Henry, 2003, p. 3; Henry, P. J., Sidanius, J., Levin, S., Pratto, F., 2005), the reason for this could be that

immigrants’ demands are viewed as Hierarchy-Attenuated factor which threatens the dominance of

Maltese over foreigners. On the other hand, this does not explain why the scores for “denial of

continuing discrimination” were not higher. If the study could be repeated with the whole Maltese

population, it would provide a deeper understanding of modern prejudice.

If one would assume that classical racism is frowned upon in society, one would expect that that

the cognitions behind modern prejudice would create cognitive dissonance. Yet this was not the case in

the findings of this study. One way to overcome cognitive dissonance is by stereotype subtyping

(Festinger, 1957). Is there a possibility where police officers have created a “pleasant” stereotype for

some foreigners and another “undesirable” stereotype for immigrants and refugees? Without a

qualitative investigation it is difficult to comment the attitude formations and corresponding schemata

42

of the Maltese police force. The major obstacle of the misinformation is the conundrum of definitions.

When discussing the issue of immigration, many people fail to distinguish between foreigners. Usually

the only distinction made is only skin deep. Lippmann (1922) wrote about the “pictures in our heads” to

explain the stereotypes which we use to make sense of the world (p. 22). Police officers make the same

mistake and most often than not assume that the only immigrants that live in Malta are the same ones

they come in contact with at work, and thus their impression is formed. In essence, this does not mean

that the perceptions of police officer’s is incorrect, it simply means that any schemas formed by these

perceptions will be skewed from the start. The application of a deviant label is a must. Once the

perceptions that immigrants in general are disturbing troublemakers become ingrained in the schema of

‘immigrant’, it will form part of the attitude. Beyond this stage, any attempt from the individual to

retrieve information about immigrants, the negative connation will be inevitable. It was for this reason

that the questionnaire did not specify which type of immigrant the items were referring to, to allow free

association.

From the results obtained, there were no real biases of any kind, meaning that the levels of

prejudice across the police force are homogenous. The original hypotheses suggested otherwise.

Irrespective of gender, age, rank, years working in the police force and district, the attitudes of prejudice

will be more or less the same. This should not cover the fact that on a general perspective, all rating

scores were high indicating that the Maltese police officers are quite prejudiced. It would be useful to

compare results with the rest of the Maltese population, to have a control group in order to investigate

whether society at large holds the same attitudes. Research already indicates that the police force

subculture contained racist tendencies (Crank, 1998; Nelson, 2000; Sigelman, Welch, Bledsoe, Combs,

1997; Rowe, 2004), and the results obtained confirm this view.

43

The location of the district yielded some interesting results, even though they were not

statistically significant. Scores from District 2 (where Qormi is the central police station) symbolize the

concept of the changing in the way we express prejudice, because it scored lowest for classical prejudice

and highest for modern prejudice. This would entail that the sentiment is still present, but more subtle.

District 9 (the Northern district), yielded the lowest scores for both classical and modern prejudice. On

the opposite end, District 4 (the Southern District) has the highest classical prejudice scores and lowest

modern prejudice scores. The first observation is the contrast between the northern and southern

districts. This could be due to a concentration of open centres where immigrants reside in the South.

Considering the fact that police officers come in contact with deviant and criminal behaviour, one can

infer that any contact with the police will result in a negative perception. Therefore one could ascertain

that in the South, immigrants come in contact with the police more often, and it would make sense that

the highest classical prejudice (or the most primitive form of prejudice) scores would be found here.

In Malta there is no research indicating the frequency of such malpractice. The implications are

two-fold. Firstly, minority group members will lose faith in the justice system, and if they fall victims of a

crime, it will be very unlikely that they will report the incident (Bracey, 2002). As a result immigrants fall

prey more easily to exploitation, as noted by two major worker unions in Malta; General Workers Union

(GWU) and General Retailers and Traders Union (GRTU) in their respective reports (GWU, n.d.; GRTU,

2000). However popular opinion blames the foreign victims of exploitation instead of the Maltese

perpetrators (Debono, 2009). The second aspect is that minority group members will in turn be

prejudiced against the police (Boffa, 2008), with the same cognitive processes at work. The chances of

immigrant cooperation decrease substantially due to this notion of institutional racism.

44

5.3 Conclusion

This chapter has explored the different results that emerged from the statistical analysis. It

provided insight into the applicability of the theories presented in the literature review.

45

Chapter 6: Conclusion

6.1 Summary of the study

The aim of this chapter is to present a summary of the study, including the limitations and final

note. The study was conducted to investigate the police attitudes towards immigrants, specifically the

classic and modern prejudice attitudes. These both represent the same sentiment, but at different

levels. A quantitative approach was adopted, and all the hypotheses suggesting some form of bias were

rejected. This shows that every police officer expresses an equal degree of prejudice.

6.2 Limitations of the Study

As already explained above, although discrimination and prejudice are connected concepts, they

are different. The questionnaires measured prejudicial attitudes, not overt behaviour. Thus one cannot

assert that the Maltese Police force freely discriminate against immigrants. Another study should be

conducted

to

measure

the

effects

of

symbolic

racism

(Sears,

1988).

Moreover

discrimination

terminology creates bias in a study of discrimination, creating difficulty to “produce psychometrical

sound depictions of the frequency of modern discrimination” (Gomez & Trierweiler, 2001).

Another aspect is the social desirability effect. Honesty of the respondents is difficult to assess

when such a controversial issue is discussed, as a local newspaper revealed that 84% of the Maltese

population believes that immigration is a national crisis, even though 90% are misinformed about the

46

issue (Debono, 2009). Many formed misconceptions about immigrants, such as asserting that the

country is being swamped without knowing the exact number of migrants leaving the country. The

biggest concern seemed to be losing jobs due to the influx of unskilled workers (32%), although only

5.3% reported that they had such an experience (Debono, 2009).

For logistical reasons, Gozo was not included in the study. It comprised the last district by itself.

Each district is assigned a set number of police officers, and to obtain enough questionnaires from that

district would have been difficult to achieve. The Gozitan district would have also diluted the sample as

the cultural environment would have differed from Malta, however without Gozo this study does not

give a holistic and representative perspective on how Maltese police officers perceive immigrants.

6.3 Recommendations for Further Research

A control group consisting of members of the Maltese populations would be very valuable in

order to extrapolate the reasons why the police force scored the way they did. Moreover, comparing

the Maltese police force with the Gozitan police force might yield interesting results. Finally the study

could be reproduced on foreign police forces in other countries to eliminate any bias enclosed in the

research tool.

6.4 Final Note

There is no magical policy or political party which will end the effects of globalisation and

immigration. It is a reality that everyone has to come to terms with. Simply expressing racist behaviour

and inciting intolerance is only the simple and naïve way to deal with the issue. What is crucial at this

47

point is the concept of integration, which is different from assimilation. When an immigrant individual is

assimilated into the host country’s dominant culture entails that the same individual will lose the unique

culture identity, or individuality. On the other hand, integration entails that an individual from a foreign

culture with different values, integrates into the host country’s culture to make it more dissimilar. The

keyword here is diversity. Yet the original ideal of integration should incorporate the idea of reciprocity,

giving rise to a mutual integration.

48

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53

Appendix

Questionnaire

Instructions/Istruzzjonijiet

This questionnaire is administered to collect information for my psychology thesis. The topic of this research is about Immigrants in Malta.

The information given is CONFIDENTIAL and will only be used for the purpose of this study. There are no right or wrong answers. This questionnaire is anonymous, so please DO NOT SIGN YOUR NAME.

Dawn il-questionnaire hu maġħmul biex jittieħdu informazzjoni fuq it-tesi tieġħi. Is-suġġett huwa l- immiġranti hawn Malta.

L-informazzjoni mniżżla se tkun KUNFIDENZJALI u se tintuża ġħall-istudju tieġħi biss. M’hemmx risposti tajbin jew ħżiena. Peress li l-questionnaire huwa anonimu, jekk joghbok TIFFIRMAX ismek.

This questionnaire will measure attitudes towards a specific minority group. There are 19 statements in total divided in two sections. Each question is followed by a Likert scale. Il-questionnaire se jkejjel l- attitudnijiet fuq minoranża specifika f’Malta. Hemm 19 mistoqsija, maqsumin f’zewg sezzjonijiet. Wara kull mistoqsija hemm skala mil 1 sa 5.

e.g. People generally respect police officers. Il-publiku generalment jirrispetta l-puluzija.

Agree/Naqbel

1

2

3

4

5

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

If you strongly agree to the above statement, then circle 1. If you strongly disagree, then circle 5. Jekk taqbel immarka l-1, jekk ma taqbilx immarka l-5.

Please respond to all the questions as honestly as possible.

Jekk joġħbok prova rrispondi kull mistoqsija.

Nirringrażżjak tal-interess u l-partecipażżjoni,

Andre Vella

54

Tick where appropriate. Immarka fejn suppost:

1. Gender (Male/Female):

2. Age:

3. Rank:

Police Constable

Sergeant

Sergeant Major

Inspector

Superintendent

Assistant Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner

Commissioner

4. How long have you been working in the police force? (years) Kemm ilhek impjegat mal-puluzija? (snin)

5. Town of police station (lokalita’ tal-ġħassa):

6a. Do you know or have known anyone who was an immigrant? (Yes/No) Taf lil xi immigrant b’moġħod personali? (Iva/Le)

6b. If YES, please specify the relationship (e.g. Sibling, friend, neighbour etc). Jekk Iva specifika r- relażżjoni (eż. Familja, ħabib, ġirien etc)

7. Would you rate your general relationship with Immigrants as positive or negative? Ir-relażżjoni

ġenerali tieġħek mal-immigranti hija waħda pożittiva jew negattiva?

55

First Section

1. The basic reason for many of the social and economic problems that immigrants in Malta suffer from are due to their own mental weaknesses. Ir-raġuni principali li l-immigranti ġħandhom problemi socjali u ekonomici hawn Malta hija li m’humiex intelliġenti biżżejjed.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

2. Even though there are some exceptions, it seems that most immigrants simply lack those qualities that Maltese community members should have. Il-maġġoranza tal-immigranti m’ġħandhomx kwalitajiet biex jintegraw ruħhom fis-socjeta’ Maltija.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

3. Immigrants should live in protected places because of the dangers in Maltese society. F’Malta l-

immigranti ġħandhom ikunu protetti f’postijiet sejf minħabba l-perikli li hemm fis-socjeta Maltija

.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

4. It would be unwise for a Maltese local to marry an immigrant. Ma jkunx ġħaqli jekk Malti jiżżewweġ immigrant.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

5. Immigrants do not have the character strength that most of the Maltese have. L-immigranti m’ġħandhomx karatru b’saħħtu daqs tal-Maltin.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

6. It seems that immigrants do not take the opportunities offered by society. Milli jidher l- immigranti ma jiehdux vantaġġ mill-opportunitajiet li ttijhom is-socjeta Maltija.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

56

7. Like all people, immigrants have goals and meanings in their lives. Bħal kulħadd, l-immigranti ġħandhom ġħanijiet u skop f’ħajjithom.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

8.

Immigrants often commit crimes. L-immigranti jiksru l-ligi regolarment.

 

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel

Second Section

1. Society takes more care of immigrants than is fair to other groups. Is-socjeta tieħu ħsieb l- immigranti aktar minn gruppi oħra li ġħandhom bżonn l-ġħajnuna.

Disagree / Ma naqbilx

1

2

3

4

5

Agree/Naqbel