Fear And Prejudice

Categories: FearOvercoming fear

“True wisdom comes from admitting you know nothing” – Socrates. It is no secret that throughout history people have been discriminated against. While prejudice can be held against ethnic minorities, it is not uncommon to also be between gender, religion, and race. Prejudice is an opinion that is not based on reason or experience but is a prejudgment that allows people to show hostility towards a group of people out of fear and insecurity. Prejudice is often based on fears and incorrect beliefs about a set of people, it is a concept that can be learned at a young age or through experiences at an older age.

Prejudice not only is created from fear but can also create fear in communities and create a divisive society. Prejudice is unlikely to ever fully go away but it is something that can be learned from and used as a guide for people throughout life.

Human nature allows us to feel fear as a defense mechanism, and in response to fear of a group of people we feel prejudice, but can these fears be turned into something more productive? If prejudice is seen as a negative feeling, but you feel prejudiced against feeling prejudiced towards a group of people, then learning to dislike your dislike holds the implication of wanting to like.

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This growth or yearn for enlightenment can begin a process that would allow people to support each other and live peacefully. Through this process, we can use knowledge to see that the prejudice held against a certain group of people was, in fact, invalid and was held without any knowledge or thought process (Weinberg, Prejudice, Prejudice 471).

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Prejudice is not something that can be unlearned but it can be tolerated through the intolerance of intolerance, this is a method that would be taken when someone is older, say in college. This method is something that would be taken by someone who is willing to learn not only from logic and values but also from experience. The prejudice that has been built into traditions and is taught to children at a young age should be approached differently. Without raising children in a proper manner in a society formed by prejudices, children may believe people deserve discrimination and deserve bad treatment due to an inferiority of some kind. Children can learn prejudice from their family and cultural environment or from being raised in a way one might develop fears or suspicion that later develop into hatred towards groups. When raising children, it is argued if God should be introduced at about 15 years old to make kids more speculative and guide children to use knowledge to decide beliefs (Acton, Prejudice. 326). People who are unable to speculate are unlikely to grasp truths due to infrequent thinking, deciding things at once and completely. A child with a “traditional” upbringing may not use reasoning or be speculative, giving them this “once and done” method of thinking. Those who are prejudiced are unable to utilize knowledge or be prompted by continual thinking, proving themselves to be cowardly and childish (Acton, Prejudice. 326). There are beliefs and practices that have been accepted as a tradition in our society that supports prejudice, there is also reasoning which is used by more speculative people who don’t “go along” with tradition. Prejudice can be seen as another name for tradition because the submission to traditions is equal to an unwillingness to learn. Tradition is something that forms our strongest and most accepted proofs because time allows for solidity and make things seem reasonable. Though men are able to free themselves from prejudice by reason, and in exercising this reason is a mark of human dignity. Showing respect for others, in turn, shows respect to yourself and is a way one can gain knowledge and further guide their life (Acton, Prejudice. 324).

Prejudices are likely to be held by white men, due to the dominance in society by them. White Americans translate their unease about race relations into beliefs about crime, a linkage of potentially great divisiveness. White fear is something that is constructed by people who profit from this divisiveness, usually politicians who choose to play “the race card”. Politicians are able to win elections through scare tactics used against the public against ethnic minorities. These tactics not only benefit politicians but help root prejudice into American culture, as George Bush did in 1988 when hinting at a man convicted of both murder and rape. White Americans feel prejudice, shown in the form of fear of integration of schools or neighborhoods leading to wanting to live far away from minorities. It has been studied that when Whites live closer to minorities they hold lower levels of prejudice than those who live further away, proving that they are willing to pay to live far from minorities. These neighborhoods are likely to be gentrified or “modernized” to meet “middle class” standards, raising not only the cost of living in areas but making prejudice more casual in society. It’s been shown that police strength is determined by racial economic inequality, inner-city riots, and the size of the minority population, concluding that money is spent on policing in cities where white interests appear threatened. This is surprising, assuming the police would be a necessity in areas with higher crime rates, not in areas where white people feel threatened by ethnic minorities. The problem with the way police necessity is determined in cities only creates an issue of police militarization which allows for the government to be equipped with military grade weapons and not only increase the fear in White Americans but in ethnic minorities as well, mostly Black people. This is an issue because the federal government has supplied local police with military-grade weaponry and tactics, which is seen by communities as police feeling “at war” with communities despite their role to protect and serve their communities as public servants. This not only strikes fear within a community but can also create a divide between liberals and conservatives as well as between Whites and ethnic minorities. The issues between fear, the proximity of minorities, and the desire White Americans have for retaining dominance of their institutions are unlikely to wane anytime soon.

While ethnic prejudice is one of the most fundamental, religious prejudice is as important because, in a sense, religious prejudice can really be ethnic prejudice. This prejudice can relate back to race, such as Anti-Semitic prejudice usually has an ethnic dimension. Ethnic prejudice allows us to see that another cause of prejudgment is because people judge that which is different, so even when someone isn’t the representation of a group as a whole they might receive prejudgment for displaying differences. These differences can vary from different beliefs, age, any color, how one dresses, to even mannerisms. Religious prejudice is very present because religions have different beliefs, variances in skin tone, and different practices (what one might wear, how much one might pray, different traditions and customs followed throughout the year) which make people insecure and fearful due to lack of knowledge and prejudgment. The likelihood of being anti-semitic is dependent on knowledge, such as, someone who understands and accepts Jewish culture is not likely to be hostile or feel a prejudgment towards them for having different beliefs. This prejudgment is cured with education and continual thinking but the method used is determined depending on the particular type of ignorance. With these army veterans who had personal experience with minorities, prejudice did not disappear. Even after destroying stereotypes, one would only be scratching the surface of the problem of prejudice which is truly a problem of logic and values.

Army veterans who suffer from frustration have shown that they attempt to restore their emotional behavior by some form of hostile behavior. These army veterans felt that they lost opportunities in the army that they deserved, and in turn, they felt hostility toward minorities in the army, specifically Jews and Black people. There was no correlation between intolerance, age, education, religion, political affiliation, income, or social status shown by the veterans and the likelihood of hostility toward minorities (Bettelheim/Janowitz, PREJUDICE, 12). The evaluations the veterans had towards their experiences affected their likelihood of hostility towards minorities because they felt like opportunities they deserved were given to minorities. The social mobility of someone affected their tolerance of minorities, the lower socioeconomic people felt more hostile towards ethnic groups. Social acceptance was also a reason in the level of tolerance veterans had for ethnic minorities, veterans were more tolerant of Jewish people because society was more socially acceptable when it came to discriminating Black people, whether that be in public or in private. Veterans who had contact with Jews or Black people had no effect towards their hostility or likeliness to stereotype, meaning they would hold stereotypes no matter how much interactions they held. Even after contact with Jewish men, veterans were likely to make stereotypical comments and feel like their opportunities were “stolen” by Jewish men. The stereotypes were defense mechanisms and were persistent, even with experiences, proving that once a stereotype is present, it is not easily changed by one’s experience. This only proves how necessary it is to change the social climate and create a safe environment to protect people from discrimination.

While prejudice is most prominent against ethnic minorities, prejudice is also held towards women, especially in a male-dominated society. Male supremacy is something that’s ingrained in a man-made world, making it a difficult task to shed the prejudices held against women. All of our societal institutions have been male-dominated, making most public policies prejudice of gender. These public policies only enforce the idea of male supremacy and make living as a woman more difficult. In history, it has been a tradition that men are breadwinners, the protectors, and the earners in the household allowing men to dictate policies that pass even if they only affect women. It has been an issue in India that women have no healthcare, lack of immunization, education and the right to property showing gender ideology not only manifesting in the U.S. This oppression of women have become a governmental tradition due to men wishing to keep the patriarchy that has been custom since these institutions have been around. Men could free themselves from this gender prejudice by reason, and the use of empathy to sympathize more with women.

While it is unlikely that gender prejudice, racial prejudice or religious prejudice will disappear anytime soon with the current social climate that makes it seem acceptable for men to harass women, to harass religious people and especially with the consistent racial inequality found in society without result. Women are unable to live their lives without feeling the need to walk in groups, feel unable to speak out about sexual harassment, or feel equal treatment in a society that pays men more as well as living in a society that attempts to cut their rights. Religious people are unable to express themselves without harassments in public places such as school, for example, 2 Syrian refugees at a school in Huddersfield, England faced harassment, a brother and sister were choked out, tackled and even waterboarded for their differences. Racial inequality is on display daily by law enforcement, the government, not enough education about ethnicities and ignorance communicated by society. There are more than enough police brutality instances, minorities facing discrimination when in public, and the constant fear of hate crimes occurring. It is difficult to feel accepted when minorities are consistently ignored, oppressed, and attacked every day by a society because of insecurity and fear due to a lack of knowledge. The unnecessary amounts of money funding these fears could be better used in funding programs for awareness and for helping out these minorities or people likely to face oppression.

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Fear And Prejudice. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/fear-and-prejudice-essay

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