Can Music Help To Reduce Racial Prejudice?
Racism can be combatted in many different ways, some methods are more successful than others.
We already know How Reading Harry Potter can Reduce Prejudice and Stigma.
But new research aimed to examine is music could be one of those ways:
The study examined the impact of a cross-cultural musical programme on young Portuguese adolescents’ anti-dark-skin prejudice
229 sixth-grade pupils who attended public schools in Portugal were recruited for the study.
The pupils were split into two groups, the first group undertook their normal music classes where they were exposed to national songs (in-group) while the second group were exposed to African songs (out-group).
The researchers explained the rationale for this method:
Each person’s musical tastes are closely associated with the musical tastes of their friends and relatives. In other words, we like to listen to the same music as the people we love, and with whom we identify
The reverse effect might also be true: if people like the music produced and performed by people with whom they had no previous contact (from an out-group), they may feel inclined to like these people or, at least, recognize that they have something in common with them.
Once the researchers had analysed the data they were able to show music as useful in reducing racial prejudice:
As expected, implicit anti-dark-skin prejudice was lower at the end of the programme than at the beginning, and it was still lower 3 months after its completion.
The effect even lasted for 2 years after the music intervention had finished.
This study goes some way to showing how music may be a useful tool for combatting racism.