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    Predjudice and Discrimination Essay

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    Prejudice and Discrimination are an all to common part ofour cognitive social being, but many social psychologistsbelieve that it can be stopped, but only with the help of socialconditioning. In this writing I hope to explain and point outsome key terms and points made in my assigned chapter. Prejudice refers to a special type of attitude, usually something negative toward any group or ethnicity that is not ofone’s own social class.

    Attitude plays a very important role inones cognitive framework, in that it forces our minds to processinformation on certain social groups differently making acognitive earmark for that individual group (stereotypes). Racially prejudiced persons take significantly longer than otherpersons who are not racially prejudiced to decide whetherstrangers whose racial identity is ambiguous belong to oneracial category or another(Ch. 6 Pp. 211). Why does prejudiceexist? Individuals hold prejudice views because doing soallows them to bolster their own self image(Ch. 6 Pp.

    213). Bydoing this a person is making themselves believe that they arebetter than another, giving them a feeling of greaterimportance. A second reason for holding prejudice views isthat doing so can save us considerable cognitive effort(Ch. 6Pp. 213). In sorts prejudice views are a form of collectiverepresentation because a person forms views of certain socialgroups through analyzing the individual traits of one groupmember, forming one opinion for the whole group.

    Now when prejudice is acted upon by an individual it iscalled discrimination. In recent years discrimination hasdecreased, yet it has all but vanished from our society. Earlyon in our history people were less subtle than they are todaywhen it comes discrimination. Everything in our society wassegregated, every group had their own facilities and were notto be used by members of a different group. At this timepeople felt less remorse for expressing openly racist views. They would state that they were against school desegregation ,that they viewed minority groups as inferior in various ways ,and that they would consider moving away if persons belongingto these groups took up residence in their neighborhood(Ch.

    6Pp. 215, Sears 1988). These days many people wouldn’t dareexpress these views because of the way social conditioninghas made it so that the person would be looked down upon byhis peers. “New “ racism opposed to the “old fashion’ kind isfar more subtle these days because of the enlightenment of ourtime, yet it still exists. Some examples of this modern racismare that of Tokenism and reverse discrimination. Tokenism isthe performance of trivial or small scale positive actions forpeople who are the target of prejudice (Ch.

    6 Pp. 216) Theseare just ideological terms used today to explain socialOne of the oldest explanations for prejudice in our societyis that of the realistic conflict theory. According to this view,prejudice stems from competition among social groups overvalued commodities or opportunities. In short, prejudicedevelops out of the struggle over jobs, adequate housing ,good schools, and other desirable out comes (Ch.

    6Pp. 219). As competition steadily increases social class label theiropposition as “Enemies” , viewing their own group as thesuperior power. The outcomes of these confrontations cansometimes lead to violent clashes.

    The end result beingFrom a dialectical standpoint such prejudices are notinnate in form yet taught at an early age. According to thesocial learning view , children aquire negative attitudes towardvarious social groups because they hear such views expressedby parents , friends, teachers, and others, and because theyare directly rewarded for adopting these views (Ch. 6 Pp. 222). Yet another theory on the existence of prejudice is one ofsimplicity, people generally divide the social world into twodistinct categories: Us and Them.

    In other words you eitherbelong to the in group or the out group. Such behavior isdescribed as social categorization. We may not know it but everyday we use certain cognitivemechanisms too hold prejudice or discrimination. Suchmechanisms, like stereotypes, are often used. A stereotype,often used to delegate views a social group is based on thetraits or attributes of a few members of that group.

    Cognitive frameworks are often laid because of stereotypes, this is adangerous thing because of the opinions that people set ongroups which are unfairly represented. Even worse are thestereotype-threats, these are the threats perceived by theFinally I am brought to gender based prejudice, this is oneof the most widespread prejudices of all. It affects more thanhalf of the human race. At the core of this prejudice aregender stereo types, cognitive framework suggesting thatmales and females posses sharply different patterns of traitsand behavior(Ch.

    6Pp241) Females remain as the main targetof gender based prejudice. This type of discrimination is mainlybrought about because of gender role expectations. For somereason or another females tend to hold lower expectationsabout their everyday lives. To achieve a higher social status ahigh level of self confidence is often positively enforced for awoman wanting to obtain higher than average success. Sexualharassment, another form of gender prejudice is most seen inthe work place because of the constant interactions betweenmales and females on a frequent basis.

    The sex role spill-overtheory makes some very curious predictions . According to thisframework, women working in certain environments-oneswhich most employees are male-will be more likely toexperience sexual harassment than ones working in moretraditional environments(ch. 6Pp. 245). Yet people will tend toview such harassment, when it occurs as less threatening orcoercive than it would be in traditional environments.

    This isbecause they are perceived as role deviates-people whoFrom the dialectic point of view we have come a long way indiminishing racism and discrimination. However, we still have a way togo before our world truly reflects our ideologies. Bibliography:

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