Prejudice and Stereotypes in 12 Angry Men

Topics: Stereotype, Prejudice, Generalization Pages: 2 (562 words) Published: March 12, 2013
Stereotypes use generalisations to characterise people, and 10th juror is particularly prone to stereotyping the defendant based on socio-economic background. He regularly makes generalised statements about 'those people' (p.6), without ever justifying his opinions with concrete details. Examples include:

.I'm tellin' you they let the kids run wild up there' (p.6).

. '... You're not going to tell us that we're supposed to believe that kid, knowing what he is. Listen, I've lived among 'em all my life. You can't believe a word they say. I mean, they're born liars.' (P.8)

.The kids who crawl outa those places are real trash. I don't want any part of them, I'm telling you (p.12)

. 'Let's talk facts. These people are born to lie' ... 'I've known some who were OK, but that's the exception' (pp.51-52)

. 'They're violent, they're vicious, they're ignorant, and they will cut us up' (p.53)

The one instance where 10th juror uses details is when he argues 'his type, they're multiplying five times as fast as we are. That's the statistic.' (P.53). Yet he only uses this statistic to ground his own fears: 'They're against us, they hate us, they want to destroy us ... If we don't smack them down whenever we can, then they are gonna own us. They're gonna breed us out of existence.' (P.53).

10th juror is not the only one guilty of such generalisation and stereotyping. For example, 4th states:

The boy ... He's a product of a filthy neighbourhood and a broken home ... Slums are breeding grounds for criminals. I know it. So do you. It's no secret. Children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society. (P.12).

Similarly, 3rd juror muses:

.. sometimes I think we'd be better off if we took these tough kids and slapped 'em down before they make trouble, you know? Save us a lot of time and money. (P.3)

Neither 4th nor 3rd jurors make reference to specific details of the defendant's situation, but rather rely on generalised stereotypes which...
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