Free Prejudice Essay Sample
In psychology, prejudice means a bias against anyone on the basis of his membership in a particular group or category. Not all preconceptions are classified as prejudices. These ones are those biases that do not disperse even when the conclusive evidence of their groundlessness is presented. Prejudice is something more than an idea of another person or group of people. It implies a categorical assessment. Under mentioned conditions, prejudice can be positive or negative. However, psychological literatures usually define prejudice as negative attitudes in relation to an individual or a group. Prejudices are usually supported by stereotypes, i.e. the beliefs that all members of the particular group have similar characteristics. These biases are formed due to the competition between groups or just as a result of hostility to others. It occurs since they belong to their own consolidated unit. Prejudice is often confused with discrimination. However, if the latter one is a kind of behavior, it is a mindset. If a person has a certain prejudice, it does not mean that he/she behaves in relation to an object of prejudice. However, bias to a particular person or group of people can grow into some discrimination. Thus, the investigation of the causes and theories of this notion is required.
Prejudice is a common fact in everyday life. Every individual has a preconception about a person or group of people, an event or occurrence. However, some people deny having a stereotypical way of thinking. Then, during communication, one can hear one can hear phrases that reflect prejudice from these people. Exactly, the type of an individual who have prejudice against others, was interviewed for the purpose of this essay.
The topic for the interview is prejudice, its causes, and demonstration. According to a viewpoint of an interviewee, bias is a way of thinking based on a particular knowledge (stereotype) or a feature of a person or group of people. In addition, it was easier for the interviewee to describe this notion using examples. During the conversation, it was found out that the most common prejudice is that blonde-haired people are stupid and naive. To be more precise, this description is a stereotype; and the preconception is to conceive all people, primarily woman having blond hair, as stupid and naive. Indeed, male consider blonde-haired women as more attractive. Thus, blonde-haired women, who are deemed attractive, are considered as perceiving education to be unnecessary. As a result, the level of knowledge of blonds was of the low rate. However, nowadays, the situation has changed. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, is blonde-haired, but no one would consider her as an unintelligent woman considering the fairly high level of skills and knowledge required for premiership.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that there are lots of women refuting this stereotype, this prejudice is still acute. The interviewee has made a conclusion that the modern media spreads and supports the stereotype and, thus, the preconception. The perceived image of a young blond girl, who is beautiful so that she does not need to study and have other thoughts except those about pink clothing, fashion, and makeup is widely used in cinematography. The interviewee held a Barbie doll as a model for a blonde-haired person. The stories about this doll are around fashion, beauty, parties, horse riding, and other. The image of Barbie hardly could be connected to an educated person. Thus, from the early age, girls are taught to think that blond-haired women and smart females do not coincide.
This condition has led to the fact that, at the first glance, almost every blonde-haired woman is perceived as silly. It could be unintentional and even unnoticed, as in the case of this interviewee. As a result, people involuntarily tend to talk with simple sentences. The topics of conversations are mostly fashion, makeup, clothing, and shoes. In addition, when the blond is for sure educated and smart, people feel uncomfortable talking with this individual about serious topics. Another demonstration of prejudice, according to the interviewee, is a childish tone when talking with a blonde-haired woman. Drawing a conclusion from the interview, it should be pointed out that the bias exists. It can be best understood using particular examples since it often is confused with stereotypes.
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Prejudice: Types, Theories, Causes and Formation Mechanism
Most often when talking about prejudice, the stereotypes, shared by quite a lot of people, are being meant. Due to the diversity of thoughts and knowledge, the preconceptions have several distinctive types as well. For example, strictly speaking, religion is a set of prejudices considering the doctrine of how humans should please the God and achieve righteousness. Religion is based on the phenomena that initially could not be explained by humanity. Thus, after an explanation had been found, the group of people continued believing in a spiritual interpretation of these phenomena.
Gender bias concerns gender and its role in the society. According to numerous studies, it is one of the most popular in the world. It is formed on common stereotypes and justifies discriminatory practices. Racial prejudice leads to the fact that the representatives of one race are biased in relation to the representation of the other one. For example, Gypsies are dangerous, always related to crimes; Englishmen are cold and prim; and Russians drink vodka all the time. Such prejudice is a bias for racism. Age prejudice is related to the fact in each phase of the development of the body and personality. There are features that are perceived as signs of inferiority. For example, an adult judges that all children are irrational (since many children believe that fairy-tale characters, or, for example, Santa Claus, exist in fact). Household bias concerns the fact that not all prejudices are about different people communicating with each other. There are also biases towards their own behavior or appearance (the so-called complexes) to objects and events (a belief in various beliefs and superstitions). In the literature, one can find other types of preconceptions such as antipathy (an opened negative attitude to the members of another group), or symbolic (meant danger to socio-cultural values of a particular group) biases. However, the given typology of prejudice is the most common one for the research and the most frequent one for a discussion in the literature.
There are rather great number of theories explaining the source and cause of prejudice in psychology. First of them is the theory of frustration and aggression. The point of this theory is consists in the frustration, appearing in human mind as a result of negative emotions. This condition requires a discharge, and its object may become a cause of the fight. In case the ethnic group is conceived as the reason for any difficulties and sufferings, obviously, this particular ethnic group or any its representative is perceived with anger. As a rule, it has accumulated because of the hostile prejudice. This theory is often called the cognitive-motivational one since self-authorization performs the primary role in the self-actualization of the person of any group.
Another theory stresses that the prejudice can occur in case there is a necessity of an individual to determine the position relatively to the other one. This necessity is, as a rule, the result of sense of dominance of the ethnic group, to which the individual is subjected. In case the process is truthful only for one person, this theory again can be named a cognitive-motivational one. Generally, in the process of this self-affirmation, the distinctive features of the alien group are humbled. It emphasizes the hostile attitude toward it. In this case, associations in all the spheres of human relations (cultural, social, economic, political and others) are distorted. They, in their turn, are associated with the ethnic and cultural identity of interacting groups. Moreover, the positive identification is associated mainly with the own cultural group, the foreign cultural group is perceived with the actively demonstrated negative identification or even overt discrimination. Such theory explains the appearance of racial prejudice and, as a result, racism. In addition, it is also sometimes called an integrated threat theory. In this case, the threat is the other group, distinguished by racial features.
Finally, the most widespread prejudice about gender roles can be from the best perspective explained by a role congruity theory. The essence of this theory is about how individual should perform in his or her role, traditionally given to him by the society and nature. For example, an ability to give birth is possessed by a woman by nature. Furthermore, a woman is traditionally perceived as a home maker. Thus, in accordance with this theory, womens task is to give birth, cook, clean, and do nothing more. This theory can explain other types of preconception, such as the gender one. It is generally known that different generations can hardly understand each other. Here, every generation performs the predetermined role. Older people claim that the younger ones are too liberated or rude; and the younger generation consider old people as boring and annoying.
For each individual, the prejudices absorbed during a process of socialization and crystallized under the influence of cultural and group norms and values. Their source is a local environment of a person, especially parents, teachers, and friends. Thus, individual prejudices, in most cases, do not arise from the personal experience of intercultural communication, but by mastering the previously established prejudices. These mastered preconceptions arose from cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This cause cannot be eliminated, only decreased due to the impossibility of cultural diversity elimination. As it has been mentioned above, a cause for a bias may be the environment. In a modern world, the main engine for the prejudice formation is media since the usage of human incompleteness is the most profitable way of entertainment.
In accordance with the experimental data and the results of numerous studies held by psychologies, there is a definite mechanism for prejudice formation. This mechanism allows determination of the exact emotional reaction of an individual to another person; it is often called a displacement process. The essence of this process lies in the application of the emotional reaction to the situation where it can be achieved with least possible troubles or even with benefits. The displacement can be both conscious and unconscious reaction. As an unconscious reaction is appears as a defense mechanism of the psyche. Intentionally it is a search for a person to avenge the anger or annoyance. What is more, displacement can be a massive reaction, i.e. the collective mental processes. Thus, when this defense mechanism or an intentional anger of one group of people directs the anger and hostility towards the individual or another group and such emotions has no reason the prejudice appears.
Prejudices arise as a consequence of incomplete or distorted understanding of an object-based association; imagination, or speculation. A psychological setting with distorted information component has nevertheless a sustained impact on peoples attitudes to the subject. There are different theories of prejudice appearance. The main thing about all the mentioned ones is that they interact with each other. The features of one theory can be applicable to another one but in a different perspective. What is more, the prejudice cannot be completely eliminated due to the cultural diversity as well as the diversity in human thoughts and emotions. Intentionally or unconsciously, prejudice always exists in the minds.