April 23, 2012
Prejudice and Discrimination
Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are a part of everyday lives. A set of generalized beliefs and expectations about a specific group and its members is known as stereotyping. Stereotyping can often times lead to prejudice, a negative, or positive, evaluation of a group and its members. Common stereotypes and forms of prejudice involve racial, religious, and ethnic groups. Acting on these negative stereotypes results in discrimination which is a behavior directed towards individuals on the basis of their membership in a particular group. (Feldman, 2010) Throughout this paper I will discuss why prejudice and discrimination exist, some examples throughout history and how to reduce it.
Where does prejudice and discrimination come from? According to Robert S Feldman “No one has ever been born disliking a specific racial, religious, or ethnic group.” (Feldman, 2010) People learn to hate. Stereotyping and prejudice behaviors come from parents, other adults, and peers. At a young age children are taught to have negative feelings about members of various groups. This learning starts as early as the age of three. The mass media also teaches about stereotyping, not just for children but for adults as well. When inaccurate portrayals are a primary source of information about a minority group, they can lead to unfavorable stereotypes. (Feldman, 2010)
Throughout history we have seen many examples of prejudice and discrimination. A well known example would be the Holocaust. During 1939 through 1945 Adolf Hitler was obsessed with clearing Germany of all foreign races including the Jewish population. Hitler believed that the Jewish citizens were keeping the country from prospering economically, politically, and socially. Because of this Hitler began to abolish German Jews and at the end of 1945 nearly six million Jewish people were murdered because of Hitler’s discrimination (RB 66). The...