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Prejudice Checkpoint

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Prejudice Checkpoint
Genna Lee psy/285 6/15/2014

Prejudice Checkpoint

Prejudice comes from an unequal status and from other social sources including learned values and attitudes. Family has that largest impact of learning prejudice. Parents teach their children who and why they should or should not like or trust someone. Many other elements play a role in prejudices attitudes, society, emotions and cognitive processes all influence prejudice as well.
Society confirms prejudicial attitudes in different ways. You have the authoritarian personality, religion, conformity and aggression. The authoritarian personality is that those who tend to hostility to a particular group usually shows the same hostility to all groups they see as different. Religion can play a role in prejudice as well because in almost every country leaders invoke religion in order to sanctify the current order of things (Exploring Social Psychology, ch.23, pg.259). An example of this is when the vote for gay and lesbian rights come into play be it adoption, marriage or tax equality you often hear the Bible verses of Leviticus spoken as an example of why it should not be accepted. Those verses are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Leviticus ch.18 verse 22). The other scripture you often hear quoted is "If a man lies with another male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them" (Leviticus ch.20 verse 13). Conformity is another contributor to the way society confirms prejudice. If prejudice is seen as socially accepted, many people follow along in order to conform to fashion. Individuals do not always act out of hatred but out of a need to fit in and be liked.
Social identity can also contribute to prejudicial attitudes. Humans are a group bound and social species. We tend to define ourselves by our groups. In most ways our sense of self does not only contain our own personal identity but our social identity as well. I even identify myself as a woman, wife, mother and southern lady. We categorize, identify and compare our own social groups to other social groups often times automatically granting our group unsubstantiated superiority. An example of this is seen in any School setting where you have different cliques that think theirs is better and that something is wrong with the other social groups, be clothing style, money or whether or not they are on a team sport.
Emotions encourage prejudice by solidifying social groups. When we feel superior generally we are happier. School spirit is highest when faced with an archrival causing school unity and a closer bond of belonging. Even coworkers perform better as a whole when a stronger sense of comradeship is felt. This is especially shown if negative feelings are projected as a whole to a higher employed person or a rival group.
Cognitive processes effect prejudice by way of stereotyping. When we categorize, identify and compare our own groups to others we are in essence shutting out things we don't like or people we feel may not fit in. A prime example of this was after 911, for a long time afterwards anyone wearing the clothing of or practicing Muslim beliefs was seen negatively and lumped in with the terrorists. We went so far as to forbid them a worshipping hall to be built simply because of who they were, what they worshipped and which group they belonged to simply because it was too close to the sight of 911. If it had been any other group or religion making this request it would not have been seen as an issue but we stereotyped all Muslims as dangerous, hated and distrustful regardless of where they were born or whether or not they were involved.

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