The Human Nature of Prejudice Essay

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Many people in society today have the mindset that being prejudice is wrong, especially as it relates to skin color and ethnicity. Social Psychology and Human Nature book describes prejudice as “an act of a wicked culture” (Roy F. Baumeister, Brad J. Bushman p. 402). Jim Cole’s description is: “Prejudices will be dealt with here as a single set of dynamics that function to dehumanize people who are identifiably different in some way from the people whose perceptions are limited by the dysfunction we call prejudice (Cole p1 ¶2).

” This means that there dysfunctions in childhood structure and it has limited the person take on the world because of a certain disbelief. If taught wrong, you become more prejudice at the more dislike you see in your life growing up because these are your own perceptions on the society. However, being prejudice makes since because it is an acquired behavior. Prejudice does not always mean a person disliking or “hating” another person, or disliking someone because of their favorite color, height or weight, religious beliefs, etc.

Most often times, people do not take notice that prejudice is happening to them until it is about race. If a person has a problem with someone else because they are not the same; different is seemingly fine. We all have problems, problems that can be solved with rehabilitation, some with great medicines and treatments, and others with just life. Some of our problems come from our past childhood. The way we are living and the choices we make could cause a problem; no matter what the situation is we face problems every day.

Prejudice is what kind of problem we need to be aware of: socially, mentally, physically, and or most cases, for example, Dennis Rodman’s, psychologically. The problem arises when prejudice is carried out in aggression or when it is used to make people feel uncomfortable. As children, we are born into this world with many cultures already present. There are many things people are born to know. Then there are things that are learned and taught to us from our parents and society. For the most part, many children start off liking everything and everyone that does not physically harm them.

It is understood that children do not learn and change behaviors themselves, and that culture influences personality, behavior, and the way in which children respond to those things and people that surround them. In my perspective, the way children learn right from wrong is the whole culture aspect existence. For example, children are indoors more with their family. Children adapt to their parents’ lifestyles, their views, values and beliefs, and their personalities. They learn quickly thus behaviors become a set way. Growing up, children learn how their parents respond to society, neighbors, political views, and even criminal situations.

For example, children who commit crime or involve themselves in criminal activities are taught or learned this from somewhere like watching television, playing video games, or simply observing the behavior among family, friends, and loved ones. Richard Trembley said, “even though children are the most violent and aggressive human beings, they cannot express their anger and aggression because they may be too weak to do so” (p24). Trembley’s discovery on children at a daycare facility revealed that “25% of the interactions among children involve physical aggression” (p24).

This proves that children can be born with natural aggression or be taught aggression. For instance, if you take a child’s toy their first instinct is to cry out of anger or hit you. Both crying and hitting are forms of outward aggression especially if a child throws a tantrum or “go bananas”. Chapter 10 of the text says this is called, “nature says go and culture says stop’ (p300). As children grow and mature, they learn how to control their aggression. Growing older force children to make choices and adjustments to the bad behaviors taught and learned earlier in childhood.

As children begin to expose themselves to others, they quickly begin to learn from others they encounter. They learn about different cultures and different behavior other than their own or what they are familiar with. Assumptions and conclusions about people are analyzed, measured, and weighed out and behaviors begin to form. Case in point, a young girl dislikes men growing up because she experienced her father mistreating her mom with cheating, cursing, and fighting or simply no man was around in her life to learn positive things about.

The girl sees a picture of her father and her mother would tell her that he is a bad man. Now, this becomes the girl’s maxim causing her to freak out or cry even meeting her mom’s new boyfriend. Even with other men, the girl would be hesitant and freak out because she has been brainwashed by her mother men are always trying to hurt or betray you. This probably would take a girl much longer to like men outside of a girl that have had a different experience being around positive men. As illustrated in the text, “prejudice is a negative feeling toward an individual based on his or her membership to a particular group” (p393).

In the above example, the girl’s reaction to seeing men has become a negative feeling especially towards the particular male group. In today’s society, when a person hears the word prejudice, they automatically think racism when in fact it is something completely different. Although it is happening everywhere including in our schools systems, many do not notice that being prejudice is becoming a growing issue. In schools today, teenagers form many groups called jocks, nerds, popular kids, and thugs.

Students who are athletic seem to have many favors and higher social ranks than other students. These students get recognition and are always lifted up as being higher than others. Others, such as nerds, are often picked at because of their ability to learn and excel higher than others and often looked down upon by the rest of the students. They usually never get in trouble and dress awkward to other students. The popular kids seem to be liked by everyone. They wear the best clothes and have the most friends. They seem to be everywhere and always involved in many activities.

Then there are the thugs, who dress different, speak different, and display negative and hostile behavior almost in every situation possible as part of their expression and culture. All seem to have something unique that makes them very different but as a teenager there can be challenges. Teenagers tend to not like things and people that are different unless they have been taught otherwise. For example, when a child or teenager is moved constantly from foster home to foster home, there are many resentment and bad feelings inside the child.

To connect with a family, children have to learn and figure a way to connect with a new family and build a bond just to get along with the family until they are taken away from that family. This seems harsh but it is reality. The experience teenagers feel every time they come across something different triggers that lashing out behavior. Trust, this is a persona feeling. Even though children may start off aggressive, children are brought up liking everything, but by socializing agents, they are taught to reject certain groups.

Therefore, the jocks will dislike the nerds because of social and physical intimidation and the popular kids and thugs may dislike each other because of social power and self-centeredness thus creating bullying and a hostile environment in the school system. The bullying creates problem because negative feelings now have created negative actions, which turns into physical aggression, now discrimination occurs. Discrimination is “unequal treatment of different people based on the groups or categories to which they belong” (p393). The discrimination stage comes after the prejudice takes place.

Many people see this stage as being worse than prejudice because this stage is where violence occurs like bullying, verbal aggression, emotional aggression, and physical aggression. As of 2009, 28 percent of kids 12 through 18 are subjected to this violence in school (DeVoe, Murphy). When a child is young, behavior can be influenced. Parents have the ability to discipline and chastise and correct bad behaviors but some children do not fully understand right from wrong. They tend to have differences with one another because of their lack of understanding.

But when a child becomes a teenager, behavior is more difficult to change because views are set and so are their behaviors. The older a child becomes the more their decisions become their own. My parents would say, “The ball is in their court and their actions will reap with consequences. ” Prejudice is not formed overnight. Children do not go to bed one night and wake the next morning with prejudice. There must be things or people to influence their beliefs. Some would argue the media, parenting, or a harsh experience is the blame.

Whatever the case, prejudice form opinions before facts are known. To change prejudices, it is very important to change the social and media situations and the at-home dynamics that influence our children. Prejudice has been getting worse over the years now that technology is on the rise. There is one form known as cyber bullying. Cyber bullying refers to bullying or discrimination through communication technologies, methods such as mobile phone text messages, emails, phone calls, internet chat rooms, and instant messaging.

They are often driven by anger, payback or frustration and this comes from again the intimidation this person may have with someone from a different social group. Kids are receiving these hurtful text messages and emails because the bully got their number from Facebook mobile. Social psychology is the scientific study of how people affect and are affected by others (3). We affect people just ask much as people affect us. These bullies don’t understand that they can bring about long term effects on the very people that they discriminated against and also, themselves.

This affects them both physically and psychologically. Solutions to this are simple. The book explains an idea called the contact hypothesis. It says that maybe if two members from different groups were to meet more often, it would decrease racial tension and eventually reduce prejudice. Without the common interactions between the groups on a personal level, the prejudice increases. The interactions must be forced in order for it to have an effect. Psychologists are thinking if push to large conflicting groups together, over time the will little to no conflict.

For example, two scientists conducted an experiment on new freshman college students. White and black college students were assigned either a black or a white roommate to live with for the year. These decisions were made by a flip of a coin so that it is a random selection. The results showed that at first some of the students where disgruntled about living in an interracial dorm room, conversely, the feeling of prejudice decreased dramatically by the end of the semester. The students needed time to adjust to their racially opposite roommate (Shook and Fazio 1).

This study proves that change can affect us in a large way. In a way so shifting that the nature feeling of being disgruntled occurs. What humans fail to realize is that our ideas and decisions are chosen for us when we are young, however when we are older we began to make our own decisions: how we hang out with, our political preference, and what type of people we are. Society influences all of the above. If we want something, we can have it with hard work. This study takes the freedom of choice away and plants the student in a situation where you have to use what you have learned to handle it.

As humans, we dislike change especially when it comes to a very large change such as living with the one race and culture all your life until now having to flip sides and live with someone who is completely different. This is why a person being prejudice is understandable. The big problem with society is the fear of the unknown because we are calm and content with the things that familiar to us. However, when change occurs our minds alert us that something is wrong. This is what creates the thought of being prejudice. You mind does not like what you see so your brain leads you to dislike that certain thing.

This makes sense because culture is leading us to like everyone, but our society is leading us in a different. Not saying that everyone is prejudice but some things that a person does, says, or looks like that we just do not like. We are allowed to we are human it is in our blood to dislike. For example, in the Old Testament, “God divided humanity into two groups, the Jews and Gentiles. God made the Jews holy and he claimed the Jews to be his kingdom of priests” (Ephesians 2:14). However, in our human nature, the Jews because too proud of their role and picked on and despised the Jews.

This is similar to the jocks, nerds, popular students, and thug situations going on in the schools. Still, even in biblical times, people were being prejudice of those less fortunate that they are. This supports my claim on how prejudice makes sense because we were created to be prejudice by our Creator. Additionally, to understand prejudice is to know the dynamics around it. Jim Cole, in his article, ask two questions, “Would you rather live in a land where discrimination is illegal, or would you rather live in a land where no one has the desire to discriminate” (p1)?

These are both good questions. Cole explains this below: “To have a better grasp of how prejudices function we need to look at how we have learned prejudices. There are many stereotypes we learn as children. We do not test these and many times we do not have the opportunity to test them. We learn them as facts and behave as if they are the truth. Then, later in life, when situations come up, we behave automatically out of these earlier stereotyped learnings.

This type of learning is not easily accessible for discussion or awareness, but it simply stays with us for later effortless, seemingly automatic application, since the learning is not tested and not challenged, it is not evaluated and not likely to be changed” (p1, ¶5). Thus, giving people time and attention to adjust their behavior and make better decisions at the right time. This claim supports the idea that as children we learn ideas and certain behaviors and put them into action. Through life experiences, learning is put into action and consequences follows.

As Cole illustrates in his article, there is a base of mixture of your childhood learning and what behaviors you have are reevaluated from society. The new way a person perceives the world is different because now they have made their own perception on how things operate psychologically. A mind can become more susceptible and prejudices can be eliminated all the while the behavior responses stays intact. In conclusion, prejudice is something that humans choose to do, but we do not do it on purpose. It comes from our childhood teachings about how to interact with society. This called social psychology.

This is what my studying. Social psychology is the study on how our thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviors are influenced by other people. We need people to survive. Without other people in society, a human would be another animal in the environment. Without people in our life to show us what is right and wrong we will be much disoriented people. Dennis Rodman is great example of the need for people in life. Throughout his life he showed Americans things that we thought were inhuman, but it was normal to him; the way he talked and thought, the way he dressed, and especially the things he did.

Dennis Rodman lost his father at a young age. He always was a little weird. People made fun of him. When he was asked “is your dad the reason why you have a problem”, he responded the same way, “Some man bought me into this world, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem. ” His mother never really had time to work with him and teach him about the real life. She was always working and his older siblings were there just as babysitters. Yes, there was discipline when needed but other than that he basically learned on his own or what he experienced. This style of childhood is what began his early sign of psychological issues.

Everyone has a father and if we don’t ever see our father for 30+ years, then we should not be exempted from having a father. This is messing with Freud’s modern concept of physiology, the basis of human nature, one father, and one mother. Rodman is famous for his aggressive manners, many piercings, tattoos, and lively, multi-colored hair. This has to do with his child life with no father. According to Freud, Rodman was trapped in the phallic stage of psychosexual development. Since he had no father, he tended to cling to his mother more; since his mother constantly pushed him away he became very sick in the mind.

Thus, creating the situation where he is unsure about his sexuality. Dennis Rodman was a person who didn’t know he liked or wanted out of life do he couldn’t have a specific prejudice toward anything. This supports the claim because Dennis Rodman was a person who did not have the correct people in his life to guide him; so when he was faced with a situation like his first sexual encounter with a woman, he found it as unpleasant because he probably never had the “sex talk” that most children have with their parents when they hit puberty. He claimed he was bisexual and that he was going to marry himself.

He could not understand exactly what a good behavior was and that is why he acted the way he did. Dennis Rodman’s life and personality could really have many different reasons and different approaches that could all be explain thoroughly, but to me, I think that his childhood and played an enormous role in determining his character and the nature of person that is he. Rodman once said that “Relationships and athletes don’t mix”, with a different set of parents Dennis Rodman would be a 10 times better man that he is today. We know that we are the only things that can help us survive.

Dennis Rodman is a good example of how we need people as direction to learn the certain things in life need to live in today’s society. He had no prejudice and because of it he did things from different cultures to see who he was. As humans we need to know who we are to be able to defend ourselves and our culture. When we know our culture is being threatened by another culture we tend to dislike those people; this why most black people are so combative with white people because they feel like they have history to protect and a race to stand up for.

We fail to realize that society has turned the page in history and is now accepting of all types of people, or at least forced to by laws and regulations. I feel like some blacks are living in the past and they have not taken a looking into the present. The only thing to blame is the childhood. How they were raised and what they were exposed to is what molds them into who they are today. I think that being prejudiced can be fixed with simple education; not only informing the child about their culture but teach ways of other cultures and telling them the difference.

This way the child can express any area of dislike and the lifetime thought of prejudice can possibly be refrained. The difference cannot be negative or it will solve anything and the child may still become prejudice, but now it’s a younger age. That is not the aim. The aim is allow the child to see later on in life and already have a saving knowledge about what they may see. In closing, being prejudice is not just something we do on our own, but it is an acquired behavior instilled in us when we are children.

Works Cited Baumeister, Roy F. , and Brad J. Bushman. “Social Psychology and Human Nature. ” Second Edtion. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. Culture & Society. “How to Overcome Prejudice. ” EHow. Demand Media, 18 Sept. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. Cole, Jim. “Understanding Prejudice. ” Beyond Prejudice, n. d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. Rodman, D. (2012). Dennis rodman official page. Retrieved from http://www. dennisrodman. com/main DeVoe, Jill, Christina Murphy, and (ED) National Center for Education Statistics.

“Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results from the 2009 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Web Tables. NCES 2011-336. ” National Center for Education Statistics (2011): ERIC. EBSCO. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. “New International Version. ” Ephesians 2:14. Trans. The Bible, n. d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. Schamotta, Justin. “The Development of Prejudice. ” EHow. Demand Media, 06 June 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. Shook, Natalie J. , and Russell H. Fazio. “Result Filters. ” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U. S. National Library of Medicine, 2008. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

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