How Do We Learn Prejudice?
Play in new window Download Just as we in 21st Century America look back at cultural practices of years gone by with a combination of repulsion and amazement, future generations probably will look back at the prejudice that runs rampant in the world today with similar reactions. Rather than wait for future generations to try to figure out what made the widespread prejudice possible in the early days of the 21st century, let me offer one possible explanation while we are living in the middle of it.
All attitudes are the result of beliefs Because our beliefs are the primary determinant of what we do and feel, and even what we perceive, all prejudice can be traced to beliefs.
People who are convinced that African-Americans, or Muslims, or gays are not as good as them usually white heterosexual Americans are expressing their beliefs about those people.
Actually, many people in those groups have similar feelings about white heterosexual Americans.
A belief is a statement about reality that we experience as the truth. It is a fact about reality for the person who holds the belief.
So when we hold a belief about something, we are convinced that we know the truth about that something. But, in fact, no belief describes the truth about reality.
Without exception, all beliefs are nothing more than arbitrary interpretations of actual events in reality.
Physical objects and events certainly occur in the world, but the meaning we give the events exists only in our minds, not in the world. How prejudicial beliefs are formed A few years ago Leeza Gibbons devoted the entire hour of her daytime talk show to an investigation of the causes and cures for prejudice.
I had been on the show before talking about how beliefs cause most of our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, so she asked me to come back to discuss the relationship between beliefs and racial prejudice.
Before the show we went into the audience looking for a volunteer who would acknowledge having prejudice and who also would like to get rid of it if possible. Let me tell you about the conversation I had with Chad before the Leeza show went on the air.
So I asked him: What happened that led you to that conclusion? Areas where Blacks lived were very dangerous—a lot of crime and killing. The news was full of it.
Most of our friends had the same negative attitudes about Blacks. I heard this constantly at home and at school. I also remember driving my car once and saw a Black man get into an accident that was clearly his fault. What else could the same events mean? I then asked him: But that fact could have a lot of different meanings.
You just gave me four of them. I now realize I only saw certain people saying things to me. My beliefs about Blacks are interpretations that exist only in my mind.The simplest, social learning theory, suggests that prejudice is learned in the same way other attitudes and values are learned, primarily through association, reinforcement, and modeling.
Association: For example, children may learn to associate a particular ethnic group with . Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a . Prejudice and discrimination cause inequality, another phenomenon common to all societies, especially when minorities, such as people of color, including Hispanic and black Americans, may be .
Explain How People May Develop Prejudices. How might prejudice develop and how might it be reduced? • Prejudice: A judgment or opinion made without adequate knowledge; to Prejudge, to pass judgement or form premature opinion. People may have prejudiced beliefs and feelings and act in a prejudiced way because they are conforming to what is regarded as normal in the social groups to which they belong: The effect of Social Norms on PrejudiceAuthor: Saul Mcleod.
The simplest, social learning theory, suggests that prejudice is learned in the same way other attitudes and values are learned, primarily through association, reinforcement, and modeling.
Association: For example, children may learn to associate a particular ethnic group with .