English 101
9 May 2005
Prejudice in our society

Is Prejudice inevitable? Is it a personal dysfunction or a learned behavior?
There are so many questions that we can ask our peers and ourselves on this one topic alone. I am going to attempt to answer but a handful of these questions. Prejudice as the name implies, the process of “pre-judging” something. In general, it implies coming to a judgment on the subject before learning where the preponderance of the evidence actually lies. (Wikipedia) In other words, it means to make your mind up about a subject matter before knowing anything about it or before understanding where the judgment comes from. Do I believe it is inevitable? No, I believe that we are to a certain extent, all prejudice against something or someone whether we intend to be or if it is in our subconscious. As long as people believe that their own race or heritage is better in some way then of their neighbor, there will always be some type of prejudice that people must be forced to deal with. When people begin to respect one another for who they are and for what they contribute to life, is when I believe we will start to notice the extinction of prejudice.
As infants and small children, we learn to behave in the manner that our mothers and fathers have taught us. Our first real relationship is the one we form with these two people. Most children are carefree, enjoying the company and friendship of any other child no matter the color of their skin or their upbringing. The child’s life is made up of enthusiasm and normality with positive relationships. Only when we expose ourselves to hate do we begin to except and rely on it. We learn by example, everything taught to us stays with us in one way or another. To become prejudice is our own choice. Others do not make us single out another soul we do this to ourselves.
An example would be a woman that has had a run of flawed relationships with the opposite sex, she may form an opinion that all men will cause her harm or that all other relationships with men will result in a bad relationship. When she becomes involved in a new relationship and if the relationship turns sour, she will assume this relationship will end the same as the last. In future relations, she may perhaps make an effort to be more conscious of and avoid others whom she feels are similar to the person by whom she was hurt or disappointed. Ultimately, forming an opinion that is unfavorable and blanketing the “type” of individual as the same. This will lead to social and personal stereotyping.
The phenomena of hatred is as close to us as, if not closer than, our own self. We all can identify with one or another form of prejudice. Generally, we comprehend what it is to loathe or at least dislike with great passion, another human being. Early on in our lives, we make connections of attractions and repulsions towards others. From these feelings, we form opinion and preconceived notion towards the cause of these experiences, whether they are good or bad. In most of these instances, we are able to recognize what the results of harmful responses to others are. For instance If someone has harmed us or disappointed in some way, we may shrug it off as no big deal and keep going on with our day without hitting or shouting in retaliation. Generally, we are able to let go of negative feelings, but occasionally we may let those feelings and emotions get the best of us. On such occasions, we may perhaps lose control and become victims of our own fury. When a person says or does something with prejudice to you, it can feel like a slap in the face. If it happens repeatedly, you may start to feel resentment towards that individual. These negative feelings can lead to anger, sadness, discouragement and bitterness.
An example of this would be a child who is constantly bullied by another child (lets say for instance an African American child) will in the long run tier of being bullied and perhaps seek vengeance on his or her perpetrator. He or she will in future interactions, link the hurtful memories of the African American child with other members of that race. The child may or may not intentionally hold prejudice, but because he or she once experienced unfavorable situations, will judge the African American ethnic group and its people as unpleasant and hurtful. Of course, this can be the case with any race and not only related with African Americans. Usually, once we have experienced a negative situation with an individual, we hold those negative memories against others.
A gay man may be a target of prejudice by a group or an individual by simply having chosen to lead his life as a homosexual man.
Dallas Texas: On October 26, three men ran up to two gay men eating in a park and began beating them. During the attack, the assailants called the victims “queers” and “fags.” one of the victims, who was of Asian decent, also was called anti-Asian slurs. After the beating, the perpetrators stood the victims, up against the wall and shot them “execution style,” killing one of the men and wounding the other. (16) This is just one more example of narrow-mindedness and prejudice, in this case towards social sexual preference of the victim. The gay men were not hurting anybody; they were simply going about their lives enjoying lunch together. They were made victims of hatred and prejudice because three ignorant individuals believed that the lifestyle of the gay men was wrong or unnatural in some way. The assailants obviously justified it to themselves that beating the men and killing them was right. They may have believed that by taking these “queers” out of society, they were somehow making the world better. On the other hand, perhaps they felt that doing this crime was going to make their personal lives better.
This type of prejudice stems from stereotyping. It seems easier to “forget” that each person is unique. People who place stereotypical blankets over a group are making unfair assumptions by judging that group of people from one experience they or someone they know may have had with an individual of a similar group. Every person has undoubtedly heard the phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” However, we all do, repeatedly, and often we judge them unreasonably. Whenever we meet somebody, we automatically form an opinion of that person. We may be judging them by appearance alone but we make a quick overall judgment on the spot. The problem with doing this is that the judgment is never middle-of-the-road; it is the majority of the time either positive or negative.
Prejudice is not classified exclusively towards one group of individuals. It begins with our hatred of one person in a particular group. From that hatred, we move in the direction of abusive and damaging behavior towards the group of people the individual (we are putting out) may have belonged too. “There is a good reason why out-groups are often chosen as the objects of hate and aggression rather than individuals.” (Gordon W. Allport,) When we attack, an individual there is some sense that he or she is in a way like us. To harass him would be to provoke some anguish within ourselves. Rather then cause harm to our his own “image” the attacker chooses to discriminate a group of people because it may seem less invasive or less hurtful. There is another reason why it is easier to hate groups than individuals. We do not need to test our unfavorable stereotype of a group against reality. In fact, we can hold it all the more easily if we make “exceptions” for the individual members we know (Gordon W. Allport). In other words, we stereotype a group much easier than we will an individual. If we are bashing gay’s, but are acquainted with other homosexuals, we make excuses why we dislike some but not others. We would not discriminate our friends or family but to do so to a stranger would seem less inappropriate. In the minds or conscience of the aggressor it is easier to out a stranger than his or her own friend or family member. He or she would not treat the person they know this way because they are a part of their inner circle. To act in a prejudice way towards an unfamiliar person may be that much easier.
Then again, not all prejudice is harmful, when we think of the word we automatically assume that it is being referred to in a negative state. Sometimes our minds must be prejudice for our own well-being. Take for instance a woman walking down a sidewalk on a dark night; she can take a short cut to her destination if only she walk down a dark alley. Down this alley it is has been known that aggressive homeless men lay. If this woman decides not to take the walk down the alley, she is in a way showing discrimination towards the people living there by assuming that because they are homeless they will try to attack or harass her. However, another way to think of it is that in her prejudice she is also merely looking after herself. She is making a decision to protect herself from danger by choosing to avoid the situation. Wether there prejudice is relayed in a good or bad manner; it is something that most individuals cannot help be feel. We can learn to live with one another in harmony but that is not very likely. There will always be someone that will not approve or favor another person’s beliefs, lifestyles, or even the color of his or her skin.
In the two weeks that I have researched and planned for my essay, I have come to grips with my own personal prejudice. I have learned that in some ways I am holding prejudice towards others. People not only of a different race, sex, religion, but people with similarities of my own. Day in and day out, I have felt an aversion towards another person intentionally and unintentionally at times. Coming to the understanding that we cannot change these flaws in ourselves until we have realized how they affect each person involved. Only at this time do we take into consideration how our words and our actions affect the people who we hurt. Prejudice is about feeling, thinking acting and outing others because of race, color, language or simply because they are in some way different from the narrow-minded aggressor.
This type of behavior is preventable and unstoppable at the same time. We as individuals can learn to live with diversity and many different cultures, but there will always be forms of prejudice wherever we go. There will always be someone who is different and “strange” to us. Not every single soul on this planet can be alike, our differences and diversity is what makes life so challenging and exciting. Learning from one another is what drives us to be better in our own skin.

Works Cited
Prejudice. Last modified 00:22, 29 Apr 2005. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
May 11, 2005 " "
National Gay and *** Task Force Policy institute, Anti-gay/*** Violence, Victimization, and Defamation in 1991 (Washington, D.C.), Page 16
Allport W. Gordon, The Nature of Hatred, 1979 By Addison-Wesley publishing. Baird M. Robert and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. Bigotry, Prejudice and Hatred definitions, causes, and solutions .Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1992.

Hi. I think you posted this before and people helped you with it. You are basically a good writer in English, just go through and double check for little errors now.
höh don't understand (in all probabilty you make fun of to other)
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Hi Sir,

Nice to meet you.

I want send below message for my friend, pls help me check garmmar or advise comments ,thx.

" Wishes Mid-Autumn Festival to be joyful. I would like to remind you don't eat many moon cakes. It will let you fat..."

Thanks very so much

Peacefulhöh don't understand (in all probabilty you make fun of to other)
Lack of knowledge for subject matter

Lack of knowldge of subject matter.
Anonymous" Wishes Mid-Autumn Festival to be joyful. I would like to remind you don't eat many moon cakes. It will let you fat..."


Please don't post your questions on the end of someone else's - start a new topic.

Best wishes for a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival. Don't eat too many moon cakes - they'll make you fat!

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