The idea of prejudice has been present for several decades now, and is so deeply rooted in our society today. They can be defined as a set of negative and irrational feelings, beliefs, and actions that are directed towards those of a different race, culture and religion. In the States, the African-American race has long been under prejudice by the Whites in the community. The Holocaust during World War II is also a portrayal of extreme prejudice against the Jews. According to Psychologist Gordon Allport, prejudice emerges in part as a result of normal human thinking, in other words, it is in human nature.
Despite efforts and measures taken to reduce and minimise the extent of prejudice today, as long as humans have a conscious thought, they will always be prejudice in one way or another, and prejudice can and will never be eradicated. Through all the movements toward equal rights, there are still groups of people who are faced with prejudice and unfair treatment, one of which is LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) community.
LGBTs have been faced with many challenges regarding their fair rights and acceptance in society. One key issue that has become more apparent recently is the allowance of homosexual marriage.
Our world has become more accepting, but still lacks in complete recognition of homosexuals. There are still many out there who do not recognize them as a part of society and it has affected more than just their community. Children who have parents that are homosexual are also affected because they face the prejudice from others who do not understand, which has damaging effects on the child’s development.
Many homosexuals look to adoption when they decide to have a family because of their unique situation, and are also faced with discrimination when going through the adoption process.
Though in other parts of the world like the Netherlands, Norway and recently USA, homosexual marriages are allowed, in Singapore, Section 377A of the Penal Code indicates that it is a crime to have homosexual marriages, showing the conservative of our society and the unacceptance of LGBT community. As such, though the acceptance level towards the LGBT community have been increasing throughout the years, the idea of removing the social stigma is seemingly impossible. Interracial marriages are yet another issue in which many around the world are prejudiced towards it.
Interracial marriages have a hard go at it. They suffer not only from the prejudice of others, but also from problems of differences between their respective cultures which combine with those already present in a marriage. In USA, marriage between a Black and White is still being frowned upon by many in the society, mainly because of the prejudice against the Blacks which has been around since the 1900s. Not only the parents will be discriminated against, their children will also be frowned upon by the society.
In the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” which touches largely about the topic of prejudice in USA back in the early 1900s, a White man named Dolphus Raymond was frowned upon by society by marrying a a black woman and having children with her. His children were being discriminated against for the fact that they have “dirty blood”, as the White’s blood which is supposedly ‘pure’ is tainted with a Black’s. In present times, though the final law against interracial marriages in the States was removed on 2000, the social stigma will still be present. In addition, gender prejudice had long been woven into the fabric of most societies.
It was driven by a universal belief that women were the weaker of the sexes emotionally as well as physically and must be protected from the world outside the home. Normally, males were expected to be the breadwinner of the family and dominated in family matters, particularly those relating to the outside world in commerce and politics. Females were expected to assume domestic chores and cook. At the same time, it was their responsibility to bear children and raise them according to the values and morals of the society in which they live in.
Similarly, sons in families enjoyed more freedoms than daughters in just about every known society. In some provinces in China, due to the one-child policy implemented by the Chinese government to reduce population size, baby girls are being thrown into a ”slops pail” to die due to the Chinese’ preference for sons over daughters. Hence, this idea and notion about women being the weaker sex amongst the two will always be inherent in the world, and as such, gender prejudice can never be eradicated.
One of the challenges in eliminating prejudice is that the social stigma is so deeply rooted that the mindset of people will not be easily wavered. Though the manifestations of discrimination and prejudice are not as severe as they may have been in the past, but the problems still exist, and that the problems still have their negative effects. As of late, many parts of the world have perhaps “matured” and learned to peacefully appreciate the differences in people. But there is a small group that still discriminates against the black and looks down on women – both these problems have not ceased to exist.
The society which we live in also constitutes to the challenge in eradicating prejudice. In Western countries like Canada and Norway, their thinking and mindset are liberal, and as such the acceptance level of LGBT is significantly higher than that of Asian countries. As compared to a conservative society like Singapore which adheres to a set of Asian values, LGBT will be frowned upon by the society because it is “morally incorrect and of improper behaviour”. Our acceptance level towards this community will never be full.
As such, societies that we live in right now will hinder the pathway to eliminating prejudice completely. The process of eliminating prejudice from our society will no doubt be an arduous one. Though world-wide efforts put in by the various organisations to assimilate everyone may reduce the extent of prejudice in today’s world, but success of it is as unfeasible as the idea of a Utopian Society. After all, just as what Edward Roscoe Murrow quotes: “No one can eliminate prejudices – just recognise them. ” The idea of eradicating prejudice will only be nothing but a dream.
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