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An essay on the causes of prejudice

After reading this essay you will learn about: Meaning, Definition and Characteristic of Prejudice 2. Development of Prejudice 3. Determinants or Causes 4. Some Indian Studies 5. Methods of Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination. Meaning, Definition and Characteristic of Prejudice: Prejudice is a disease of the society persisting from age to age.

Prejudice is derived from the Latin noun, Prejudium which means prejudgement. It is forming an attitude or belief in advance or passing a judgement in advance. It is a judgement before actually coming an essay on the causes of prejudice contact with the object or stimulus on which the judgement is passed. A prejudice may be defined as a composite of stereotypes, myths, legends in which the group lebel or symbol is used to classify, characterize or define an individual or a group considered as a totality.

In forming a prejudice, thus, one is an essay on the causes of prejudice by the decisions, attitudes, stereotypes and of course, prejudices of the group. It is developed either to serve the interest of the group or self interest, prejudice is a bias usually believed to be a negative attitude towards people, objects, institutions, nations and nationalities. Some hold that prejudice is a negative attitude.

But this is not correct. Prejudice refers to both positive and negative attitude towards the member of some distinct social group. On the other hand, discrimination refers to negative actions directed towards some distinct social groups or persons or institutions. In prejudice, the experiences gained from social life are over simplified and hence lead to prejudgement. You are travelling in the train and a person of a particular community misbehaves with you. You, at once, develop a hostile attitude towards all of them.

This over simplification of experience leads to misunderstanding, biases and prejudices. Despite the warning by academicians, social reformers, social scientists and by every sane individual for that matter, against jumping to conclusions, we do this where other persons are concerned. We form judgements about them, particularly the outgroups.

Prejudices indicate unscientific, unfounded judgement and assume that they possess certain traits and take it for granted. Rather, we predict that they will act on certain ways simply because they belong to specific groups.

This very tendency plays a central role in the concept of prejudice and discrimination. Here, we judge long before we come in actual contact. The characters are painted in such a way that automatically we judge them unscientifically. Baron and Byrne 1988 have defined prejudice as a specific type of attitude where individual traits and behaviour play little role.

They are liked or disliked simply because they belong to a definite and specific social group. The child is influenced by his parents and develop prejudices because of the traditional age old prejudice of the parents running from generation to generation. Thus, prejudices lack scientific character. They are unreasonable and biased. In the drama of real life, our in group represents for us the forces of good and they as an out group represent the forces of evil.

We are the chosen, the people of glorious destiny, savers of our lives whereas they are the forces of destruction, the inferior people, the unworthy, who is who, is a matter of group membership.

Cause of Prejudice Essay

Prejudice towards female occurs not because of some individual or specific characteristics or qualities of that particular woman but because she is a female. Fieldman holds that though prejudice is thought as usually a negative evaluation, it can also be positive.

Hence, prejudice is a type of bias and unscientific prejudgement and it can be both pro and anti.

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In both the cases the bias or judgement is not related to the qualities of a particular individual, rather it is related to a group to which the individual belongs, Allport defines prejudice as negative attitude towards human an essay on the causes of prejudice that are held because of their membership or of their suppressed membership of certain groups. According to Kretch and Crutchfield, prejudice refers to some attitude or belief that serves to place the objects of the attitudes and beliefs at an advantage or disadvantage.

The prejudices of people even in the same country or same race vary significantly not only in content, but also in clarity, specificity, strength, importance and verifiability. The nature of prejudice is diverse. Prejudice may not always be involved with active aggression. In several cases, prejudice only involves the avoidance of the outgroup by the prejudiced person. Sometimes the prejudice is also expressed towards the outgroup or minority group by withdrawing certain facilities.

Because of the varied nature of prejudice the diagnosis of the problem of prejudice becomes extremely difficult and hence, treatment and reduction of the prejudice becomes much more difficult. Prejudices are basically attitudes shared by a group as a whole and the person of the out group is considered a member of a rejected group.

A prejudiced person will always ascribe reasons to his attitudes. The hostile acts of the outgroup are remembered while the friendly acts are forgotten. The child learns to acquire the prejudice towards other groups.

  • They held that, though, none of the strategies alone can totally eliminate prejudice and discrimination together, they can make substantial improvement in these persistent problems;
  • Prejudice is a disease of the society persisting from age to age.

Initially we find small children do not have any feeling of discrimination. Small boys and girls, children of upper class and lower class, rich and poor families, play together. But gradually they learn to discriminate. Thus, only when children grow up they learn to treat the children of other groups as different from them. Prejudice is a product of social learning. It grows in the minds of men mostly linked to political, geographical, legal and economic issues and are of less psychological significance.

The white black feeling started with a very simple economic practice. When there is a change in social conditions, revolution arises which gives rise to prejudice.

In societies, in which intergroup and intra group relationships are based on political and economic power and are not integrated or planned there necessarily arises a scale of social distance which becomes incorporated in the individual members.

The famous study conducted by Clark and Clark on Negro children of 3 to 7 years age suggest that even at the age of 3 years children are perceptually able to discriminate the white child from the black child. But they do not, at this stage, develop any preferences, hostilities or prejudices. As they grow because of the exposure to various experiences in the society, they learn to develop prejudices and feeling of discrimination to children of outgroups. So, prejudice develops with the growth of personality.

Clark and Clark 1947 conducted the above mentioned experiment to verify the hypothesis that hostility to out groups is innate but it takes time for this hostility to develop because of the immaturity of the sensory experience. These children were presented with 4 dolls, two of which were brown with black hair and two were white with yellow hair.

Essay on Prejudice

Most of them could discriminate between the white and Negro children. The most interesting fact is that at this age level, they did not show any preference, prejudice or hostility. It is, thus, obvious that as children grow, they are exposed to certain experiences and training at home and society.

Therefore, they learn to develop prejudices to the children of the outgroup.

  • Similarly, sex stereotypes lead to sex prejudices;
  • He found that compared to Christian subjects, the non- christians attributed more unfavourable and less favourable adjectives to Indian Christians;
  • Both the comparative groups do not have any prejudice as all the mean values are less than the midpoints which further suggest that both the caste groups are not prejudiced, so far, as religion, caste and sex are concerned.

Horowitz and Horowitz 1938 interviewed a few white children in a Southern Community and noted that many children said that they were punished and penalised by their parents and relatives for not dissociating themselves from the Negro children. Actual conflict between the ingroup and outgroup infinitely adds more effectively to the intensification of prejudice. Once a superior group starts a prejudice, scientists, philosophers and politicians come to justify it.

Hitler created the prejudice that Germans can rule the world. Thus, prejudice develops in the same way as attitudes and stereotypes grow in the minds of a person due to social influence. Growth of prejudice mostly depends upon the family members, societies, tradition, customs, myths, legends, stories, faiths and beliefs. It further grows with the growth of social distance because of the development of attitude and prejudices.

If the social distance is high, prejudice is more and vice versa. There is always prejudice of the Americans towards the Turkians, Indians towards Americans, though not one American in a thousand knows anything about the Turki. This is because of the historical conflicts between the Mahamadians and the Christianity. A study based on interviews with 3415 persons released from a cross section of the American Zone showed that women are significantly more biased against the Jews than men.

Small town people, uneducated people are found to be more prejudiced than those of large cities and educated people. Prejudice is found to be greater among people with low status in society.

  • Chatterjee 1972 found that male college students had more caste prejudices than female college students;
  • But when you get an information contrary to your already existing stereotype notion, you may not accept it, process it and act upon it.

Many studies indicate high levels of racism among lower class whites who may feel that blacks will take away their jobs. One of the basic reasons behind the development of prejudice is stereotype.

The conditions and expectations assigned to members of group simply on the basis of the membership in those groups lead to prejudice.

Stereotypes are over simplification of facts which are used to add meaning to certain facts out of a complex social environment. In the process, the important differences that distinguish one person from another is lost sight of. Today, the pressure is more on social and economic stereotypes in the development of prejudice.

Smeelley and Bayton 1978 found that beliefs about social class provided more powerful stereotypes than did beliefs about race. Similarly, sex stereotypes lead to sex prejudices.

Some emphasise the role of self fulfilling prophecy to the development of prejudice. It means expectations about the possibility of further events or behaviours that act to increase the likelihood that the event or behaviour will occur. If people assume that an essay on the causes of prejudice of a certain group are lazy, they may act in a way that actually elicits laziness on the part of the members of that group.

Cultural factors play a very important role in the development of prejudice. Sociologists and anthropologists have emphasised the tremendous impact of socio-cultural factors in the growth and development of prejudice and discrimination. Increasing urbanization and population complexity of the society, competition and rivalry among different ethnic groups help in the development of prejudice of one group towards the other.

When certain minority or disadvantaged groups are provided with the advantage of reservation in admission to educational institution; in jobs and in various elections to political system, the unreserved category develop prejudice towards these groups.

Social factors, such as these would ultimately increase prejudices on the part of the people who feel that they are being denied a resource that is rightfully theirs or they are being debarred from their due which is rightfully theirs.