Prejudice: Negative Evaluation of Others Based on Group Membership. Essay Example

Published: 2022-12-28
Prejudice: Negative Evaluation of Others Based on Group Membership. Essay Example
Essay type:  Evaluation essays
Categories:  Relationship Social psychology Human behavior
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1776 words
15 min read

Prejudice refers to the sentimental perception towards the group members or an individual based usually on that individual's group membership. In many cases, the term is used to refer to the predetermined, often adverse feelings towards a person or people as a result of their status. In this context, the word is used to refer to the negative or positive evaluation of a different individual based on their alleged group membership. In some contexts, prejudice may be defined as categorized or unfounded beliefs; thus it may involve any irrational attitude that is often resilient to the coherent influence (Brown, 2011). In unpretentious terms, prejudice is the feelings, unfavorable or favorable towards a thing or an individual, based on the experiences. Prejudice is usually characterized by the symbolic transfers of the value-laden meaning contents into a socially defined group and finally to persons who belong to that group. Alternatively, prejudice may be viewed as a reaction to a culture or race-based Succicinlty on the experience. On the same note, in the schools and classrooms, groups are fundamental to the learners. In most cases, educators prefer organizing learners around group identities and develop not only the symbolic but also the material benefits among the students (Stephan & Stephan, 2013). Unfortunately, in these groups, there are always high chances of prejudice, conflicts, as well as the violence to ensue. Intergroup conflicts and prejudice are therefore inevitable results or outcome of the group membership. In many cases, there are numerous causes of the in-group biases and the intergroup conflicts (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2013). Conversely, the two major causes of intergroup conflicts are the automatic and the pervasive propensity of persons to classify themselves and others based on the in-group-out-group divisions and the roles that the groups play in safeguarding individual's responses to the possible threats.

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Within the classroom groups in different schools, numerous psychological and social processes often come into play, a situation which tend to escalate or maintain conflicts. In the above cases, the intergroup conflicts become inevitable; however, there are always reasons for optimism. Historically, decades of research indicates that improving intergroup relations can greatly reduce the incidences of prejudice (Thornicroft et al., 2007). New research, therefore, focuses on the ways of building social movements that can enhance the processes put forward towards eradicating situations which may lead to conflicting situations and prejudices. In the learning institutions, within the groups, intergroup conflicts and prejudice remains as the major sources of fear, much oppression, and violent acts; the above negative outcomes are inevitable (Morris, 2014). Intergroup prejudice involves the irrational beliefs and negative emotions that one group has against the other. In many cases, groups involve people with different attitudes, emotions, and personal differences. In classrooms, learners often want to remain identical when it comes to the expression of their thoughts and ideas (McCoy & Major, 2003). On the other hand, other group members may not welcome their thoughts and ideas, the above scenario, combined with the negative perceptions, usually leads to intergroup conflicts. Intergroup conflicts are inevitable since they are sometimes linked to hatred and ignorance (Berger, Gainer, Hewett & Rizzo, 2009). The diversity that exists between groups causes a lot of differences in terms of approaches in solving the problems; this also functions as social assumptions according to which unavoidable and innate roles occur for each group. These assumptions often lead to symbolic or material forms of sanctions among the members of the groups who attempt to step out of their roles. The extension when it comes to the intergroup prejudice concepts needs reflection on many subtle factors about the refusal to enhance the establishment of the effective ties with the members of the group who cannot undertake or fit the roles assigned to them.

In classroom groups, the rejection of contact is usually considered neither as fear nor hatred, but a multifaceted sentiment that hampers the development of solid group ties. Intergroup conflicts and prejudices are inevitable consequences of group membership due to narcissism. In most cases, a form of narcissism may exist among the members of groups who have the tendency of magnifying their manor differences. The most damaging fantasy conclusion on groups is that only the absolute equals can concur in groups, and as a result, any person that is not in collaboration or in agreement with other group members cannot coexist with other members, a scenario which may lead to intergroup conflicts (Dixon & Levine, 2012). Among the learners, the narcissistic feeling usually leads to the wish of border closure, drive out the alternative thoughts or views and protect oneself. The above observations frequently create a hostile environment and manifest the need to discuss whims that the narcissists create about themselves (Aboud, 2005). The debateable devotion among the group members or out-groups, as well as the narcissism of the inconsequential differences, presume the inability of specific persons to like others, understand who they are and value their liking.

In most classrooms, there exist different kinds of people with specific complexion and ways of thoughts; in this sense, prejudice is directly connected to discrimination. Discrimination is the limitation of the indispensable choices and opportunities for the minority as compared to the dominant group members. The above scenario makes prejudice inevitable consequence of group membership. In many cases, prejudice can be triggered by the situational and individual causes; however, in as far as groups are concerned, more than anything else, it results from the structural causes (Noor et al., 2008). Within the classroom groups, discrimination is sustained through conformity to the discriminatory norms that often build social barriers to the intergroup contacts; such scenarios are common to every people in a group, a situation that makes prejudice and intergroup conflicts inevitable. In some cases, discrimination may result from the historical oppressive and conflicts institutions such as apartheid or slavery. Discrimination based on the societal norms can poison intergroup relationships and thereafter enhance perverse customariness that may only be overcome through elimination (Cuhadar & Dayton, 2011). Even though the above argument appears valid when it comes to the understanding relationships between ethnocultural groups, it should be reviewed while attempting to comprehend the economic relationship in the socio-economic groups. The social class is important when it comes to the understanding of how discrimination and prejudices operate. In every societal setup or within a group of people, there exists a social sensitivity which often unsalvageable distrust and hatred (Thibaut, 2017). In the above scenario, the elimination of the discriminatory norms may seem not to be enough because of the existence of social and economic structures that continue to segregate contempt and hatred, even if the institutions and individuals alter their norms.

According to the findings and contemporary theories, the impact of the out-group homogeneity is the sensitivity that individual members of the out-group are homogenous or more similar than the individual members of the in-group. Within and out of the groups, individuals face conflicts between the plea to express prejudice as well as the desire to maintain the positive self-concept (Kidder et al., 2004). The conflicts thus make people look for justification for creating a dislike in out-groups and thereafter apply that justification to circumvent the negative feelings or the cognitive dissonance about themselves when they try to adhere to their dislike within the out-group. Within the groups, there is always the competition for superiority, at the same time, there always exists the rivalry of the struggle for the resources, a scenario which leads to discrimination and negative prejudices. The above situation may also be perceived when the resources become insignificant (Mackie & Hamilton, 2014). Even though the occurrence of the negative prejudices may be suppressed, the cannot be completely eliminated given nature and the diversity in the behaviors of the people. One of the contemporary theories about prejudice is the integrated Threat theory developed by Walter Stephan. The theory builds and draws upon different other psychosomatic explanation of prejudice and out-group or in-group behaviors such as symbolic racism and conflict theories. In addition, the theory applies the social identity theory perspective as the source of its validity (Nelson, 2005). In other words, it undertakes the fact that persons operate in a group-based context where the members form part of the individual identity. The integrated threat theory postulates that out-group discrimination and prejudice occur when people perceive an out-group to be threats in some ways. In classroom groups, the integrated theories highlight four major threats that make prejudice an inevitable scenario in the group membership. There are the real threats which are tangible, these include acts that create competition in ideas and superiority complex (Pehrson, Vignoles & Brown, 2009). On the other hand, there are the symbolic threats that occur as a result of the perceived differences when it comes to the adherence in cultural values between groups as well as the perceived imbalance of pow; such feelings often leads to the intergroup conflicts and prejudice which sometimes become difficult to escape. In many cases, individuals possess the feelings of religious, cultural and social identity and therefore, when they come together in the group, some will be able to suppress such feelings, other will try to express them while some people will attempt to hide them, this, therefore, gives rise to prejudice and intergroup conflicts.

In every group, there is always the existence of the intergroup anxiety which results in the feeling of uneasiness. When the group members become uneasy, they usually tend to develop a negative attitude against other members who may have different opinions or views. Within the groups, there is always negative stereotyping which are also threats to the interactions and positive association. In most cases, there are people or group members who anticipate negative behaviors from other group members in line with the perceived stereotyping. When there is the anticipation of the negative behaviors, there is always the high possibility of finding one even though there might be a little opportunity (Cairns et. Al., 2006). Negative stereotyping is common in most settings, it is one of the major cause of discriminations, disagreements and the prejudices in the society and among the group of people. Group membership consists of people with different characters and in many cases, when there is the disagreement, the situation may escalate causing influence to other group members. In many cases, society can be perceived as a group-based hierarchy. Therefore, amidst the competition for the scarce resources and through the battle of superiority, the dominant group membership develops prejudiced, legitimizing myths to enhance intellectual and moral justifications for their dominant status over other groups and their membership (Stephan, 2013). As a result, the legitimized myths, including the discriminatory recruitment practices or the biased norms, tend to work in an attempt to ensure the maintenance of these prejudiced hierarchies.

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