The Language of Prejudice and Historical Perspective

Topics: Rwandan Genocide, Hutu, Rwanda Pages: 3 (1267 words) Published: February 10, 2012
The Language of Prejudice and Historical Perspective
Can you imagine living in a world, in which we judge people by the labels that are branded onto their head at the instantaneous moment of birth? According to Gordon Allport, in “The Language of Prejudice”, he believes that “Without words we should scarcely be able to form categories at all” (217). This statement is valid, because today historical events such as the Rwanda genocide have been labeled as a category of “genocide”. And because of this categorization of the Hutu and Tutsi; they became victims of the “nouns that cut slices” (218), a phrase that Allport uses for “the names that help us to perform the clustering” (218). The Rwanda genocide also opened the eyes of the people to Allport’s idea of “emotionally toned labels” (220); the labels of being a Hutu and Tutsi had many connotations both bad consequently leading to their clash because of the “misunderstanding lie in the fact that minority group members are sensitive to such shadings, while majority members may employ them unthinkingly” (222). Also the idea of the verbal realism and symbol phobia label was infringed upon the two categories of Hutu and Tutsis; if one was to look bigger height wise or width wise they were to be suspected as a Tutsi and immediately executed, thus proving Allport’s idea that, “Most individuals rebel at being labeled, especially if the label is uncomplimentary” (222). For these reasons, the historical event of the Rwanda genocide has became a primary target of Allport’s “The Language of Prejudice” containing multiple labels that Allport discusses, thus making his point of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes valid. These “nouns that cut slices” (218), being so vital and valid have occurred in the historical event, the Rwanda genocide. At first, Allport introduces us to the “empirical world of human beings where there are some two and half billion grains of sand..” (218), he explains to us that our world has...
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