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The nature and power of prejudice

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2428 words Published: 1st May 2017

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Prejudice has been around since the seventeenth century this behavior still exists and continues to surround us all in each population. In many countries today prejudice is still a big issue among different cultures people always tend to stereotype others just because of race,sex,color or whatever the case may be I fell this is unfair because people lives are at jeopardy in so many ways because of the negative thinking. Prejudices are opinions formed beforehand without any reason knowledge or thought. I have been taught about the history of prejudice and how serious it had been in the past. So many people and great leaders lost their lives because of stereotyping.

The nature and power of prejudice

There are so many prejudices in the world today from racial, gender, and culture. I have experienced all three in some way or other gender being one I have a family member that prefers the same sex and I have watched my own family tear him apart. it upsets me because he is family have heard these same people sit around and talk about how other people are prejudice and they are doing the same thing to a loved one. I have witnessed him being told that he needs to stop acting and straighten up or he will be disowned from the family now that they have made him feel out cast he has not come to a family gathering in three years. I know that in the bible it says you must not commit this sin but people are only human and they are going to choose to live how they want. I feel that people can live their lives how they choose they will suffer their own consequences when the time comes.

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However, racial and culture prejudice is the most despicable and ignorant people should not be judged for the color of their skin these days all colors have some kind of racial slur about all cultures. On the other hand, many people have moved away from being prejudice. For example, people of different races now share many of the same attitudes and aspirations (Etzioni1999). For instance, where I work there are blacks, white, Hispanics and when Obama was being elected in to office only a few where upset and out of that few they were black majority of the white were agreeing that we need a black president in office. I feel that racial prejudice may be disappearing many people attitudes are changing with time from how it has been in the past. I am a very neutral person even when I am hearing my friends or family say negative things about Caucasians’, I pretty much get along with everybody it really just depends on that persons attitude you should do unto others as you wish them to do unto you the world would be a much better place.

Social sources of prejudice

Social sources of prejudice starts from family influences there are so many children raised to be prejudice. Prejudice springs from unequal status and from other social sources, including our acquired values and attitudes (Castelli&others2007). Sinclair stated that children implicit racial attitudes reflect their parents explicit prejudice (Sinclair&others). When raised in these types of homes puts society at risk, many children hold a lot of anger depending on what they were taught by their family.

One example being, I watched this movie called bowling for columbine and he talked about a lot of prejudice issues and people who have the authoritarian attitude. He talked about how the KKK still lives and showed clips of how they live and train their children. Many of the clips were disturbing they showed how they taught children to shoot guns and a lot of negativity towards African Americans. He also discussed how those boys killed many students at columbine high school. I remember one clip showing the boys talking about whom they were going to shoot and one of them had stated we are going to get the black boy just because he is black. “The insecurity of authoritarian children seemed to predispose them toward an excessive concern with power and status and a flexible right-wrong way of thinking that made ambiguity difficult to tolerate. Such people therefore tended to be submissive to those with power over them and aggressive or punitive toward those whom they consider beneath them.” (Myers 2010) I fear for society if people are out here teaching their children to hate, I am almost afraid to send my children out in the world when we have people out here with these negative thoughts.

Religion and prejudice

However, religion and prejudice stated by William James those who benefit from social inequalities while avowing, “All are created equal “need to justify keeping things they way they are (Myers2010). I agree with this statement there are so many hypocritical people that attend church they are the most judgmental and stereotypical people I have ever seen. So many churches lead people to support their prejudices. I have an uncle and aunt whom are very deep off into church.

They are always quick to judge, I remember when I was a little girl they would call my father the devil. Because he drank, instead of trying to help him, they would talk about him and he would constantly talk about how he hated lesbians and gays. Sometimes you have to be careful of what you say now their children have grown up and they are now doing those devilish things like drinking, and relationships with the opposite sex. The church that I attend is not bad when it comes to judging people. This church is a come as you are there are different races, cultures and people with the opposite sex whom attend church. My pastor teaches us to love one another and not to be so judgmental towards people. He always says each of us will have our judgment day when that time comes. I feel that people should live their lives how they want they are the only ones whom have to answerer to god.

Social institutions support racial prejudice these people use their superiority to justify their beliefs. This was most common in the 1960s. For example segregation in schools and banks whom would not offer opportunities to unmarried women and African Americans. I do remember a couple of years back reading an article about how a school down south wanted to segregate the prom and how parents were protesting not to segregate the prom. I feel racism still exists in many communities in America.

Sources that motivate prejudice

Frustration and anger has a lot to do with issues of being prejudice when people are competing for things that may be scare to society. Now that we are in recession, many people feel that Caucasians’ have a better chance at job opportunities than African Americans. I feel that in some ways it is true because how society is so judgmental these days and this is why many people have so much hate towards each other. Things will never get better it just seems like everything just keeps going around in a circle. For example, my Caucasian friend and I conducted an experiment to see who would really get the job I had all the qualifications for the position and she did not have any skills for that position. At the end of our interviews, she had been the one chosen to fill the position. This is what keeps society frustrated and anger and this is what showed us how I had been stereotyped just that quick.

Social identity and feeling superior to others was one way that our ancestors lived to protect themselves by living in groups. People will do whatever they have to do to protect their groups in most countries. For example, over in Iraq when the war first started how these people are so willing to kill themselves to protect their country. When lacking self-esteem this is what causes people with social identities to become confused. Many disadvantage people find security in groups and this is what makes them so willing to do anything in their power for their group. Many feel that by being in groups this is a need for status and feeling superior over others.

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I have noticed that we do tend to still group when you look at different communities you can see how we segregate ourselves there are many communities where there are all African Americans. Hispanics and Caucasians’ where as some communities have a mixture of all races that live and get along in the same communities with no problems. I feel that in some way or another we all have some kind of issue with prejudice even if you do not feel like you are it is somewhere deep down inside and that is why we segregate our selves. I have heard some people say that neighbor hoods were blacks live are terrible I could never live there. I have heard people talk about communities saying that the police are prejudice where there are majority whites. That is why they choose to live elsewhere. Nevertheless, these are the same people that are quick to call someone else prejudice and not willing to admit to their own.

However, we must learn to avoid prejudices by suppressing unwanted thoughts this can be very hard for people that have phobias about homosexuals and elderly people. This would be because this is all that that have known all of their lives. I can remember when I use to work in a retirement home in dietary their were a lot of elderly people and they use to always make racial comments when I waited on their tables I would just look at them and ignore the ignorant slurs. I had to deal with this for six years I use to feel so much anger towards Caucasian people. I then started to realize that I could not hate all Caucasians’ because of what a couple of elderly people were saying. This is the way that they had been raised all of their lives and they were from the segregation days and times are changing now. Not all Caucasians’ have this same racial attitude. I am proud of myself by going through that experience it had brought me to break the prejudice habits that I may have had.

Cognitive sources of prejudice

Cognitive sources of prejudice are in categories by classifying and grouping people from what we perceive. We as people are always quick to put people in two categories by their appearance. “Jim Blascovich stated it is necessary for prejudice social identity theory implies that those who feel their social identity keenly will concern themselves with correctly categorizing people as us or them”(Jim Blascovich1997). For example, when I first moved in to my home my neighbors are Caucasian I had lived here for a couple of months she and I had never spoken so I instantly categorized her thinking she was prejudiced as she had already assumed the same for me.

Until one particular night, someone was trying to break into my home while I was here asleep and she sent her son out to scare him away. The next morning she came over knocked on the door and told me what had happened. I then realized she was not what I had thought about her all along she is a very nice person and every since that day we speak on a daily basis and we always keep each other informed on what is going on in the neighborhood. Sometimes we have to be careful on how we judge people because you may actually miss having a good friendship with someone.

I feel that black men in society today or categorized, as dangerous gang members, and drug dealers. This is why when a crime has been committed black men are the first to be accused. I have always heard statements like was he black or white. The main thing that gets me is that they ask if he was black first as if they had already been assumed that he is black. I remember a couple of years back when a Caucasian woman drowned her own children she blamed a black man of kidnapping her children and stealing her car the police and media were on this big man hunt for this black man just because they are assumed as criminals every time something happens.

I feel that because of all of our negative perceptions of people we all tend to categorize on another. For instance, how men use to categorize women as only being able to stay home and bear children and not being intelligent enough to work. These perceptions also feel that all blacks are uneducated hoodlums, and the same is for how homosexuals are a disgrace to the world. These errors occur because most of us focus on the person and not on their situations. The more we continue to have these types of stereotypical attitudes it is a lesser chance that the world will be willing to accept one another as equal human beings.

Consequences of being prejudice

There are have been many problems in society because of the ignorance of prejudice. When society tends to label, it can sometimes lead to dangerous activity. I can remember learning in school about all of our civil rights leaders and how many of them had lost their lives, how people acted out with violence in the sixties. There were billions of dollars lost, because of riots due to the violence in society. They were only trying to bring people together in harmony, so that we can all treat each other’s as equals to put an end to stereotyping. There were so many people at this time that were angry that they felt there should not be equal rights between each human being and this is what lead them to take the lives of these very heroic men. So many innocent people have been targeted by prejudice actions, and affect the behavior of the person holding the prejudice issues as well. For example, for most homosexuals find it hard to tell their families that they are living this life style, because they feel they will not be accepted, so in order to avoid the rejection they end up committing suicide. the person whom holds all the anger with prejudice issues will eventually one day act out in society with some kind of violent act and this is how innocent people always end up getting killed for instance the 9/11 attack there were thousands of people who had died for nothing just because of the ignorance of prejudice.

In conclusion, Prejudice has been around since the seventeenth century this behavior still exists and continues to surround us all in each population. In many countries today prejudice is still a big issue among different cultures people always tend to stereotype others just because of race,sex,color or whatever the case may be I fell this is unfair because people lives are at jeopardy in so many ways because of the negative thinking. The world would be a better place if everyone would just stop being so judgmental towards each other.


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