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Defining Prejudice Essay

Prejudice-a preconceived negative judgement of a group and its individual members. -prejudice is an attitude. The negative evaluations that mark prejudice often are supported by negative beliefs called stereotypes.

Forms of prejudice

Stereotype – a belief about the personal attributes of a group of people. Stereotypes are sometimes overgeneralized, inaccurate, and resistant to new information. Discrimination- unjustified negative behaviour toward a group or its members. Racism- an individual’s prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviour toward people of a given race or institutional practices that subordinate people of a given race. Sexism- an individual’s prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviour toward people of a given sex.

Racial prejudice

In the context of the world, Every race is a minority. Most folks see prejudice in other people. -is racial prejudice disappearing?
-in 1942 most Americans agreed that there should be separate sections for negroes on streetcars and buses.
-parents both black and white suggested that their children should know the history of blacks and whites.
-most black and white would likely to vote a black American for president.

In the United States, whites tend to compare the present with the oppressive past and to perceive swift and radical progress. Blacks tend to compare their present with their ideal world, which has not yet been realized, and to perceive somewhat less progress.

Gender Prejudice – people’s prejudgment on others based on gender. Gender Stereotype – are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences, and roles of individuals and/or groups. Stereotypes can be positive or negative, but they rarely communicate accurate information about others. When people automatically apply gender assumptions to others regardless of evidence to the contrary, they are perpetuating gender stereotyping. Many people recognize the dangers of gender stereotyping, yet continue to make these types of generalizations. the female stereotypic role is to marry and have children. She is also to put her family’s welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic; and find time to be sexy and feel beautiful.

The male stereotypic role is to be the financial provider. He is also to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, and career‐focused; hold his emotions in check; and always initiate sex. These sorts of stereotypes can prove harmful; they can stifle individual expression and creativity, as well as hinder personal and professional growth. Ambivalent Sexism – Ambivalent sexism is an ideology composed of both a “hostile” and “benevolent” prejudice toward women. Hostile sexism is an antagonistic attitude toward women, who are often viewed as trying to control men through feminist ideology or sexual seduction. Benevolent sexism is a chivalrous attitude toward women that feels favorable but is actually sexist because it casts women as weak creatures in need of men’s protection.

What causes ambivalent sexism?

According to Professors Glick and Fiske, sexist ambivalence is the result of two basic facts about relations between women and men: male dominance (patriarchy) and interdependence between the sexes. Male dominance is prevalent across cultures, with men dominating high status roles in business, government, religious institutions, and so forth. Hostile sexism arises in large part because dominant groups tend to create hostile ideologies concerning the inferiority of other groups. Despite male dominance, however, men are often highly dependent upon women as wives, mothers, and romantic partners. This dependence fosters benevolent sexism, which recognizes women as valuable and attractive (an attitude not generally present in prejudices such as racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia, in which the targets of prejudice are typically shunned or loathed).

Gender Discrimination – Discrimination based on gender or sex

Where and When Can Gender Discrimination Occur?

Employment – Including claims that a potential employer asked discriminatory questions based on gender during the interview process; claims that an employer failed to hire, failed to promote, or wrongfully terminated an employee based on his or her gender; unequal pay claims; and claims for sexual harassment of employees. Education – Including claims for exclusion from educational programs or opportunities based on gender; and claims for sexual harassment of students.

Housing – Including claims for refusal to negotiate with a person seeking housing, claims for imposition of different lease/contract terms, and claims for refusal to extend a loan based on the gender of the applicant/tenant/buyer. Borrowing / Credit – Including claims for refusal to extend credit, claims for imposition of unequal loan terms, and claims arising from improper inquiries during the credit/loan approval process, based on the gender of the applicant.

Social Source
Emotional Source
Cognitive Source

Social Sources of Prejudice
The self-fulfilling prophecy: where a belief is accepted as truth, & in stating it, becomes true.

Stereotype Threat
Stereotype threat is “the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype,” such as the stereotype that women perform poorly in math. Some students try to escape stereotype threat by misidentifying with the part of life in which the stereotype originates, such as race or ethnic identities.

Emotional Sources of Prejudice
Frustration & aggression:
The Scapegoat Theory: When problems occur, people do not like to blame themselves. They will thus actively seek scapegoats onto whom they can displace their aggression. Scapegoats may be out-group individuals or even entire groups. Powerless people who cannot easily resist will often become victims of scapegoating. Scapegoating increases when people are frustrated & seeking an outlet for their anger.

The Realistic Group Conflict Theory

When there are limited resources, then this leads to conflict, prejudice & discrimination between groups who seek that common resource.

Cross-race/ Other-race Effect
Refers to the tendency to more easily recognize members of one’s own race. A study was made which examined 271 real court cases. The results from this study showed that witnesses correctly identified 65 % of the defendants which were of the same race as them. On the other hand, 45% of the defendants were identified which belonged to a different race than the witnesses.

Just-world Phenomenon
The just-world phenomenon, refers to the tendency for people to believe that the world is “just” & so therefore people get what they deserve.” It wrongly colors our impression of “victims” of any sort.

Controversies and Prominent Topics
Sexual Discrimination
Religious Discrimination
Linguistic Discrimination

Reducing Prejudice
The contact hypothesis

The contact hypothesis predicts that prejudice can only be reduced when in-group and out-group members are brought together. In particular, there are six conditions that must be met to reduce prejudice, as were cultivated in Elliot Aronson’s Jigsaw Classroom. First, the in- and out- groups must have a degree of mutual interdependence. Second, both groups need to share a common goal. Third, the two groups must have equal status. Fourth, there must be frequent opportunities for informal and interpersonal contact between groups. Fifth, there should be multiple contacts between the in- and the out- groups. Finally, social norms of equality must exist and be present to foster prejudice reduction.

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