Prejudism Essay

Prejudism Essay

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The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish, and the tyranny´s of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity & ;goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for He is truly his brothers keeper and the finder of lost children, and I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. Ezekiel 25:17. New testament.


This author will attempt to show two different forms of prejudice, using African-American Black History, and the persecution of the Jews in World War II.

What is prejudice? Prejudice is an extreme attitude towards one particular group of people, and it compromises the components of all attitudes including:
· ;Cognitive component, i.e. stereotyping
· ;Affective component, i.e. strong feeling of hostility
· ;Behavioral component, i.e. actions and manners. (Gross-Science of Mind and behavior 1999).

Allport (Gross et al 1999) states that the behavioral component may include five different examples:
· ;Antilocution: hostility via verbal expression, verbal denigration & ;insult, racial jokes and references.
· ;Avoidance: keeping a distance but not inflicting physical harm.
· ;Discrimination: exclusion from civil rights, decent housing and employment.
· ;Extermination: indiscriminate violence against an individual or a whole group, including Genocide.

When we observe `prejudiced behaviour ` by an individual or group, it is apparent that these people are of an Authoritarian personality i.e. they look up to Authority and respect it accordingly, but look down upon those that they believe to be inferior to themselves. This automatically creates an `in & ;out` group. I will now examine the beliefs of the Ku-Klux-Klan (hereafter referred to as the KKK), and this groups ethnocentric belief that white Anglo-Saxon culture supercedes that of all other races, particularly Afro-Caribbean, African, Indian and Jewish cultures.
The KKK actively practices disinhibition i.e. they direct their energies and anger at minority groups using aggression, as a way to what they perceive as a legitimate means to solve problems and to attain their desired goal, and also that they may be judgmental towards other groups from their own standpoint.
The KKK states in Ku-Klux-Klan History (Internet Resource – ;Dec 2000) “that at the end of the civil war during a period called `Black reconstruction`, that blacks were illiterate, with no history of a civilized Government, and were responsible for tremendous crime, violence, and corruption against white southerners.” ;An extreme form of stereo-typing and pre-judgmentalism stemming from the abolition of the slave trade and the possibility that blacks were very likely to be made equal in all respects to the white-man, can only be perceived by the KKK as a threat to their ethnocentric beliefs.

The first black indentured servants, i.e. fixed for a permanent basis, were bought into Jamestown, Virginia USA in 1619. They were captured in Africa and sold at auction in Virginia. The slave population arrived early in the 1600`s but increased rapidly and by about 1750 almost 200,000. Slaves lived in the colonies. We know from historical records (Slavery in the American South – ;Internet resource Dec 2000), that by the early 1800`s more than 700,000 slaves lived in the deep south and by sixty years later in 1860 a staggering 4,000,000 slaves lived in the state.

If at this time the historical data is to be believed and the slaves actually outnumbered the whites, then why didn´t these people rebel? This can be classically defined as deindividuation i.e. the loss of a sense of individuality, the slaves were believing that they had no human worth, and their sole purpose in this life was to serve their white masters, who were superior in every aspect to them.
It appears it was the social norm amongst slaves to conform, forming a common denominator to obedience, i.e. responding to the direct requests/orders of any whites, and particularly as whites were seen as the `legitimate authority`. The cost/reward system we also see here whereby the slave counts the cost of responding and obeying to his masters demands, and counts the reward of remaining unbeaten and alive.
The slaves were in a permanent agentic state, i.e. directly answerable to any whites as they were seen as the legitimate authority at this time. (Gross-Science of mind & ;behavior 1999).

The Nazi regime employed the same basic methods, although the levels of violence and aggression by far superceded those of the slave owners, that being mass Genocide.
Dehumanization can clearly be seen in all historical data relating to concentration camps, i.e. the prisoners were forced to remain naked, they were starved and beaten, their heads were shaved and they had numbers tattooed on their bodies, this had the effect of reducing the prisoners to something less than human, and allowed the suspension of the usual moral prohibition on killing (Gross-Science of mind & ;behavior 1999).
Routinisation i.e. “ ;The massacre becomes a matter of routine, a mechanical highly programmed operation” ;(Gross-Science of mind & ;behavior 1999).
Adolf Hitler in his quest to perfect the perfect race, and the formation of the Nazi´s were, and still are, referred to as evil, however let us examine the definition of evil.
The most common and familiar form of human evil is violence, and one, which is most easily recognized, although oppression and cruelty may also be considered.
“The main prototypes of human evil involve actions that intentionally harm other people” ;(Baumeister. R- Evil Inside Human Violence & ;Cruelty 1999). Evil individuals, (in this case I will cite Adolf Hitler as example) are often marked by egotism i.e. seeing the world exclusively from ones own perspective. (Gross Science of mind & ;behavior 1999). Adolf Hitler did not lack in self-esteem, if anything he had too much of it, and over-estimated himself because of it, ultimately he committed suicide ;this in itself can be seen as the most selfish act.
What was the influencing factor regarding Hitler? And how did this one individual exert such power and influence over an entire nation to the detriment and near destruction of the Jewish race? We know it wasn´t coercive power i.e. an underlying threat of physical harm, so perhaps Hitler´s suggestion of a `one nation community` appealed to all those just went along for the sake of conforming. Hitler systematically condoned the extermination “of those deemed to be threats to the biological and cultural unity of the supreme race” ;(Weindling P. Confronting the Nazi past, 1996).
It is felt that Hitler to some extent used the halo-effect i.e. to influence the views of the German people he used one negative trait against the Jews to infer another and so on.
Stereotyping may also be seen to be bigoted behavior, and also discriminatory, however “recent research suggests that such statements may stem from a very natural cognitive process called the `out-group homogeneity effect`” ;(Quattrone 1986 – ;Gross et al 1999).
Whereby people tend to perceive members of an out-group as highly similar to each other, (stereotype), but they tend to view all manner of individual differences among members of their own group (the in-group differentiation hypothesis: - Linville et al 1989), as these are all consequences of the acts of categorization.
The Nazi soldiers certainly to some extent must have practiced a catharsis behavior pattern i.e. by observing the aggressive behavior exhibited by another soldier, he may have found it easier to release his own aggressive feelings, to torture or kill for example, even

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