Construal Level Theory or Why Sterling Hates Blacks

The owner of the LA Clippers doesn’t care to associate with blacks even though black players earn him many millions of dollars. Sort of reminiscent of plantation economics.

Psychologists refer to that state of mind as abstract psychological distancing and the theory states that the more power one has over others, the less personhood one sees in subordinates.

The title of one doctoral dissertation on this topic may help understand the theory: “You focus on the forest when you’re in charge of the trees.” The abstract reads: Elevated power increases the psychological distance one feels from others, and this distance, according to construal level theory, should lead to more abstract information processing.

Powerful people deal in abstracts while powerless people deal in holistic thinking. Powerlessness would force people to attend more closely to social context and to others’ needs and wishes-threads of socialism.

People with power were more likely to affirm stereotypes about lower-status groups – possibly because the powerful don’t see their inferiors as important enough to actually bother learning about them, as being more distant and processed information about them more abstractly.

Clearly therefore, the Construal Level Theory is a catalyst in politics as well. I suggest that it operates in bigotry as well. Altogether, it helps us understand the mind of the right-wing both in and outside of the voting booth. Assumed superiority is a powerful psychological force.


4 thoughts on “Construal Level Theory or Why Sterling Hates Blacks

  1. I dread entering this foray! I do agree with you that “assumed superiority
    is a powerful psycholigical force.” We saw that in the German Kaiser in 1914, Hitler in 1930s, Lenin in 1917, Napoleon, Caesar, Alexander, etc.

    But it is only one force. You correctly point that out by using the modifier “a” an not “the”. Racism is enabled by a host of reasons. not just psychological. It is just an over-simplification to say racism exists because of pyscholical reason…It seems to me that is but one aspect…There are social, economic, and cultural reasons as well… But, yes, an assumed
    superiority is part of it.

    And, maybe that aspect is diminishing as the old farts die off. The two current examples are elderly and Sterling is said to be very sick. So, they will be gone shortly…The younger generations are mving away from that as we see in the voting patterns of the y9outh, right? You and I have seen great strides in race. The fact that we both campaigned for a black president, and one our children supported…The mentoring of minorities
    that we have done and still do…Our parents had black servants, but we didn’t…Indeed, I learned some lessons in tolerance by the black servants my parents had and how they sh9wed me that people are equal…And, what of
    our religious upbringing? Our church was a leader in racial toleration, notwithstanding how arcane the mystical beliefs were(are)…I could say something about race and the current life in the South, but it would probably only result in a response along the lines of “nonsense”. Well, what the hell, let me say it, there is probably more racial toleration here in Mississippi and the South than elsewhere!

    1. Yes, the old farts are dying off and none too soon for me! They spoil everything good about our nation. Everything! Name one positive thing they add to our culture. Nada! My theory about them is that they lost control of things and won’t let the younger generation have their turn. Brats!

    2. Not sure what “elsewhere” you’re referring. Growing up in Northwest Ohio, the only place I saw racism was the City of Toledo. But Toledo never had anything like Emmett Till.

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