Prejudice Essay, Research Paper
Prejudice is ignorance. People who have prejudices are raised to believe that they are normal and acceptable, and that most people different from them are not. Prejudice does not only apply to race or ethnicity. It can apply to background, sex, sexual preference, or nationality. Although people who have prejudices may think otherwise, not knowing that the definition of prejudice is a preconceived opinion may lead them into thinking that their beliefs are not wrong. It is, however, ?thinking ill of others without sufficient warrant.? These judgements were made previous to the facts being examined.
People who are prejudice usually have strong feelings about their beliefs. They may even have an ?emotional bias- feelings are so strong that they are not willing to set them aside.? This unreasonable attitude makes them unusually resistant to rational influence, and immune to information that proves to differ from their set ideas. This belief or feeling may be reared towards a specific ethnic group or its individual members. It is apparent that prejudices often stem from some sort of knowledge about a specific group, or lack of.
There are certain elements that make up what may be considered prejudice. ?These elements include categorical or generalized thought, individuals being judged on a basis of group membership, ethnic prejudiced being inflexible, and prejudice no being reversible- even when subject to new knowledge.?
An example of how prejudice may occur follows: A child’s parents may believe that they are superior to others because they are affluent, and put him in a private school that only other children in his social ?class? could attend. He would be placed in an environment where there probably would not be racial or economic differences. Because of his lack of exposure to people different than he, the child may believe that he is better than others- making the beliefs that his parents once had his own. When this child leaves that school, he has not had any contact with anyone from a different lifestyle. He will not know how to react to individuals of a different economic stature. The child has a fixed mental image on these people, and is prejudice. It is understandable that people like this child exist. Their beliefs may not be right, but this is not always their fault. A childhood with parents who are prejudiced or a secluded environment with only people that act or look a certain way is usually the reason a person grows to be this way.
Membership in an ethnic group may be ascribed. ?When one is born into a certain group, he or she has always been around it and has no control over it. It is difficult to leave this ethnic group unless there are unusually circumstances.? Many people try altering or changing signs of their ethnicity to minimize racial differences, or they try not to demonstrate obvious ethnic differences such as clothing. Those who try to change their ethnicity find that society may not allow for it to happen; making it easier for prejudiced people to think ill of them because of previous stereotypes, and for racist people to further group them on the basis of their mental, personality, and cultural characteristics. .
Racism may be defined as the ?ideology or belief system that considers a group?s unchangeable physical characteristics to be linked in a direct casual way to psychological or intellectual characteristics, and which on this basis distinguishes between superior and inferior racial groups.? Racist people assign final values to real or imaginary differences in order to satisfy aggressions and win privileges- at the accuser?s benefit and the victim?s expense. There are the assumptions that human beings are divided naturally by certain physical types. On the basis of genetic inheritance, some groups are defined as superior and others as inferior. There is a certain legitimization of inequality in racism. That is, because it is assumed that human beings are divided into these different ethnic groups, it is okay to believe that one group has always been better than another, and always will be.
Racist beliefs stem from ideological justification of advocacy. The practices of racist beliefs are rationalized and made natural. Ethnic groups exist because the groups exist because members know what they are. They share a common cultural basis and ancestry.
This segregation has constantly been revealed throughout history. Societies have always had different classes, or subdivisions of economic and political standing. Ancient Greece was divided into the educated upper class, the middle working class, and slaves. Europe in the Middle Ages had an upper ruling class, and a poor working class. Africa in the past one hundred years had two classes, colonists and native Africans. Each class had a strict place in society and each person in that society was expected to conform to the behavior expected of their class. In these social structures, tension between classes start when a denomination of people believe that their niche in society is unjust. It is then that racial groups will fight for rights- after believing that they are the objects of collective discrimination. They object ethnocentrism- the ?we? feeling in which members of a social group view outsiders from the perspective and values of their own group.