What is prejudice

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What is prejudice

The English word for the word Prejudice  is derived from the Latin word ‘Prejudicium’ which means – the decision which is based on prior decisions. In the English language, the meaning of this word is decided. That is, a decision made before the required examination of the facts – an immature or hasty decision. Today the meaning of Parvagraha is interpreted as follows. It is not only an immature decision but also has an adverse attitude. As Newcomb says, “Thus a prejudice is an adverse attitude—a predisposition that looks, acts against, thinks and feels oppositely to the other person or group in ‘opposite’ ways rather than favor them.” “Thus we see several signs of prejudice:


(a) It is a baseless decision. We arrive at a decision without proper facts. Many prejudices are mainly based on experiences from our childhood that we are not aware of. They are never based on personal experiences. For example, the caste prejudices that have been ingrained in us are carried over to our childhood because we are brought up in an environment in which we are instructed that if we play with children of certain castes or they are to be brought to our homes. If we bring in we will be punished; When we bring children of certain castes into our dining room, worship hall or kitchen, we may be punished. In all these ways social differences develop in the child towards the members of other castes. Apart from this, there is another way by which we form our ideology towards other castes. Our parents and other people in the household tell us about the qualities and traits of other groups. The child of the upper caste is told that the people of the lower castes are dirty, dishonest and consuming prohibited substances, etc. – etc. This is the way in which the child develops stable attitudes towards other castes. For example, the words ‘Shudra’ or ‘Untouchable’ indicate some clear characteristics of the members of these groups.

We read about other groups in history books or novels and make hasty judgments about them and do not bother to know whether what we have read is true only about certain individuals of that group or True for all the individuals in that group. A Hindu boy studying the history of India identifies himself with Shivaji and starts hating Muslims. Similarly, a Muslim child studying Indian history starts hating Hindus because they ended Muslim rule in India. We study history with pride and the study of history re-determines our prejudices. This is the reason why today an attempt is being made to write history in such a way that the feelings of hatred towards other groups do not arise in the minds of the readers. But mere rewriting of history will not suffice. At home, parents must tell children fairly about other groups.


(b) As we have just seen, apart from the fact that prejudice is based on unfounded judgment or is devoid of personal judgment, prejudice also involves an unfavorable attitude towards another group. There is some feeling of antagonism towards the other group. This conflict can give rise to a feeling of discrimination among the other group of people. For example, in our villages and towns, there are separate habitats for different caste groups and different adherent groups. We see that the houses of Harijans all over the country are built separately, and are located perhaps two furlongs or even a little farther away from the living area of ​​others.


It is often said that the separation of these habitats is not due to any kind of conflict. “He is of the firm view that predisposition to attitudes occurs only when they violate certain important norms or values ​​accepted in a culture” (29). Dyer (3) gave the ninth grade boys some topics to talk about. He asked adult judges to make these decisions according to the amount of prejudice they contained. It was seen that whatever was said against boys and girls was not considered as prejudice as it was common to every adolescent. Similarly, the statements against the teachers were not considered as prejudice as this was also common to the students. When children expressed some opposition to trade unions or to certain socially accepted species, it was considered as prejudice. By looking at the prejudice in this form, it is certain that as long as the defeat and decision are accepted by the society in a particular group, then there is no prejudice in it. It is often said that a person belonging to a higher caste does not have any prejudice towards a person of a lower caste because there is no feeling of any kind of opposition in him.




He only wants that the lower caste person should live in a particular area and adopt a particular profession. This is quite a common thing. In this the question of any feeling of hatred or opposition towards the members of the lower group does not arise. This attitude had also become the Christians in Europe who separated the Jews by keeping them in ghettos. Neither the Jews nor the non-Jews realized that this separation was based on some opposition. Both the classes accepted him. Similarly, in India, separate habitat areas for different castes have been accepted by different groups for thousands of years. For centuries Harijans have understood that it is quite normal to live in such isolated settlements as the upper caste people understand. Similarly, in the southern regions of the United States of America and in southern Africa, the areas where Negroes live are distinct. In fact, South Africa made ‘species segregation’ a part of its legal system. According to South Africans, it is not based on any kind of prejudice against black people. There is no conflict of any kind in this. It is simply a practical way of living together in a harmonious way for people from different cultures and different ways of life. It is true that as long as the segregating group and the segregating group accept to remain separate, there is no evidence of any adverse attitude or feeling of opposition in them.

But as soon as someone from the segregated area wants to enter another area, the protest starts. Therefore, the reason for the absence of conflict is the absence of situations that give rise to conflict. Just as separation can be successfully practiced by power, so separation can be successfully practiced through practice. Children can be raised in such an environment that they feel that they have to accept custom or force. So when they grow up they will not protest, but if they do then only then conflict will arise. The custom By accepting the force without any qualms, there will be a visible harmony in the group. But this harmony is precarious and disintegrates when some individuals in accepted groups begin to cast doubts about the authenticity and appropriateness of the custom or force. as




Sheriff’s statement, “..’ Social difference is great when group-group relations are unfriendly or antagonistic. When unfriendly interactions go on for a very long period, this social difference forms the pattern of the group. The patterns of social difference are the end result of a special kind of inter-group relations.” Hence the fact that the Harijans and the lower classes have accepted to live in segregated areas, is an expression of the long period of separation. have been embodied by these unfriendly interactions. The social model that makes segregation acceptable depends on the realization of the fact that hostile behavior on the part of weaker sections does not lead to harmonious relationship. They agree because they are helpless. So here the separation takes place. But as we have seen above that segregation is based on antagonism and antagonism does not appear in social relations as long as the other group accepts the decision. It is only when they start reasoning and resist the opposing position.

(c) Prejudices are primary attitudes, they are accepted by the whole group. Prejudice seems to be acceptable to the whole group as others have similar attitudes. It is involved in every person. As the feeling of intimidation persists among other members of the group, the prejudice continues to grow in each individual. That’s why we don’t judge a person as a person. We consider him to be a member of a group, a member of a group that is discarded; Since that group is discardable, every member of the group is also discarded.


(d) Whenever a prejudiced person is asked why he has a prejudice against another group, he always gives reasons to support his views. He will give concrete examples of when a certain type of behavior has been done by other group of people. In the same way, one’s experiences tend to be biased. Disapproved group members who have committed conflicting or disrespectful actions are always remembered while incidents that do not favor prejudice are either forgotten or taken as exceptions. The obvious result of this is that the prejudice acquires survival and becomes more determined.



Development of prejudice


A few decades ago, it was believed that members of one group possessed a certain euphoric instinct or a sense of antagonism towards members of another group. Whenever we find a characteristic widely present in all the members of a particular group, we tend to view that group as something ‘Prakrit’ or something ‘Natural’. In addition to our increasing knowledge, we are now coming to the conclusion that there may be other reasons for the widespread presence of a trait found in a group. It is no doubt true that human beings, like animals, desire to love others and when they feel that they are being prevented or neglected in their efforts to achieve certain goals, they fight. gets ready for. From this point of view it is true that human beings have a basic tendency to become yuyutsu or adversary. But this statement is not true that any group of human beings is basically yuyutsu or antagonistic towards any other particular group of human beings. This is where the error occurs


. We can now see how the child as a member of his own group acquires prejudices and conflicting feelings or how the child learns to hold prejudices against the members of other groups. (1) Observations of young children have shown that they play with children from other groups without any discrimination. Even children who are unable to talk to each other due to different languages, will play harmoniously with each other or they may fight in their own games in the same way. When children grow up, they start to perceive the children of other groups as different from their own. It is generally stated with certainty that children of one group play normally with children of another group because they are unable to discriminate. Hence it is said that as children grow in age, they become more and more capable of discrimination and thus their behavior towards other children becomes different. This idea gives the impression that the feeling of opposition to other groups is natural, but due to the immaturity of sensory experience, this feeling of opposition takes time to develop.

Clark and Clark (5) conducted a very interesting test to test this hypothesis. He took 233 Negro children aged 3 to 7 years and gave them 4 dolls, two with brown and black hair and two with white and yellow hair. The examiner asked the children to give him a doll that looked like a white child and a doll that looked like a black child. 86% of children aged three years, 93% of children of five years of age and 100% of children aged 7 years gave the desired dolls correctly. In this way, even 3 year old children can distinguish colors properly and give appropriate answers. Children can tell the difference between white children and Negro children, directly cognitively. However, at this age, they do not have any feelings of preference, prejudice or opposition. This happens only when they grow up and because they get some experience in the society. That’s why they start taking prejudice against the children of the outgroups.


Horowitz and Horowitz interviewed some white boys from a community in the South, who reported that they were punished for not being able to differentiate themselves properly from Negro children. Similarly, in India, children belonging to different caste groups and different faith groups are taught by the parents to behave in accordance with the social norms prevailing in the group. When an upper caste Hindu boy plays with a Harijan child, he may be asked to take off his clothes and may even have to take a bath before entering the house. Similarly, a child who is accidentally or deliberately touched by a hairdresser may also have to take a bath before entering the house. In this way parents create prejudices in their children towards other groups by persuading, threatening and actual punishment. The reason for this is the social norms that prevail in the group, the mother or father who does not create prejudices in his child, he himself will also become a victim of opposition from other members of his group.

1. Therefore, to protect himself from the members of his group, the adult man has to behave according to the social norms towards the members of other groups and his children have to behave according to his social norms. Thus, long before he is familiar with the prejudice, the child develops prejudice, and since the situation is adapted to the social pattern of his own group, he never considers such behavior as prejudice.

(2) We see substantial differences in the attitudes of groups of white people towards groups of black people. Attitude studies and observations have shown that the French, Scandinavian and Russian people have a very small degree of prejudice towards black people. After them comes the number of the British. In the American people of the southern regions, the feeling of prejudice towards the black people is more than the British; In southern Africa, white people are highly intolerant of black people. They look upon him with suspicion for his personal existence in the continent of Africa. So he created species segregation laws in South Africa to keep different species separate. Thus the degree of prejudice towards the black race varies with nationality. In other words, prejudice varies according to different social norms.


(3) In addition, there are individual differences in the ability of the members of a group to discriminate against the members of different groups. Some Hindus are always aware that such a person is a Muslim. Similarly some Muslims are also always aware that such a person is a Hindu. On the other hand, many Hindus do not give importance to their religion while socializing with other people. They consider them only human beings, do not consider them to be members of any particular group. Recently, Allport and Kramer (7) did an interesting study. He showed 20 pictures to 200 male and female students of a school, half of which were of Jews and half of non-Jews. Prior to this, a test was done to these students to measure their anti-Semitism attitudes. The students were asked to categorize the 20 pictures into Jewish and non-Jewish categories. Responses showed that students who were anti-Semitic made more correct judgments about Jews than students who had relatively less prejudice. Therefore, it is very important for an anti-Semitic person to learn to distinguish and recognize the characteristics of the Jews. Attitude accompanies perceptual knowledge and direct knowledge accompanies attitude. The person whose tendency is already anti-Semitism, he becomes very motivated and starts understanding people in the context of the same attitude. We see a similarity in unusual behavior. As everyone knows, a person with ‘dust phobia’ pays a lot of attention to the cleanliness of whatever he comes in contact with. Thus, the prejudiced person and the dust-conscious person,





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