The price of privilege: The effects of the American caste system on the deep south white

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Bertram P. Karon
Cite this article:  Karon, B. (1973). The price of privilege: The effects of the American caste system on the deep south white. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 1(2), 161-168.


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It is usually assumed that the white man benefits from the American “caste” system. A Gallup sample of Northern, Border South, and Deep South whites was compared on the basis of the Tomkins-Horn Picture Arrangement Test, administered in 1954. Differences between the North and Border South did not replicate. More frequent among Deep South whites (compared with Northern whites) after cross-validating and correcting for age, sex, education, vocabulary IQ, rural-urban residence, population density, and degree of industrialization were: low work endurance (i.e., the “horse-driver phenomenon,” a sapping of achievement and motivation by feelings of being unable to compete on equal terms as a consequence of ascribed upper status), submissive authoritarianism, and compulsive negativism. The so-called upper “caste” status thus is psychologically destructive.
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