Prejudice

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Causes of Prejudice

Racism and prejudice have always existed in human history. Many persons have tried to explain and find the reason to such human behavior towards another group of people. Such researchers are the hope of many to see the racial discrimination ending. Vincent N. Parrillo, through his essay, "Cause of Prejudice" tries to explain the reason of racism and discrmination in the U.S. Parrillo divides his essay in two parts, one for the psychological causes and one for the social reasons. In the first part, Parillo cites the main psychological causes as levels of prejudices (cognitive, emotional and action-oriented), self-justification, personality and frustration. In the second part he deals with the social reasons which are socialization, economic competition and social norms. For each cause he gives strong arguments based on historical facts or even actual facts and statistics which made his essay reliable.

Studs Terkel's "C.P. Ellis" is another essay that can help us to understand the causes of prejudices. Terkel tells us the story of C.P. Ellis, a former Klansmen who claims he is no longer racist. C.P. Ellis is a white guy from a low-income class. The numerous misfortunes of his life lead him to become a Ku Klux Klan member. But after some events will happen in his life, he will realize that races do not make a person that different from another. This thought will progressively get him out of racism. Ellis will even accept to work with Ann Atwater, a black woman, on a grant project. This kind of real life story can help us understand why people become racist or have prejudice against another group of people.

C.P. Ellis’s story allows us to look at the reasons in his life that make him become a Ku Klux Klan member and leader. Based on Parillo’s essay we will try to see in Ellis’ story if the reasons of his racism fit Parillo’s ideas of what causes prejudice. In other words, we will see if the psychological and social causes of racism...
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