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Prejudice Is Inherent In Most Of Us Whether We Admit It Or Not!
AN OFTEN UNACKNOWLEDGED, COMMONPLACE OCCURRENCE
PREJUDICE HAS ALWAYS EXISTED AND IS ONGOING
PREJUDICE AS PROJECTION
PREJUDICE AS A SOURCE OF POWER
Prejudice, The DEEP, DARK Secret Most Of Us Have!
Definition of prejudice -making assumptions, generalizations, and usually coming to a conclusion/conclusions regarding a person and/or group of people without coming to an intelligent, logical and/or impartial analysis. In essence, it is prejudging a person and/or group of people based upon illogical conclusions.
No matter how hard we deny the premise that we are not prejudiced at all, most of us are prejudiced to one degree or another. The majority of people have an inherent dislike of something and/or someone whether it is class, looks, age, race/color, intelligence level, and/or other factors. Sadly, humankind has no evolved beyond those artificial definitions to view the actual person inside.
From time immemorial, humankind was in the habit of constantly constructing and implementing artificial barriers in order for one group and/or some groups to believe that they were/are superior to another group. The dominant and/or ingroup members make themselves superior by establishing rules and parameters by which they live. Such a group or groups often have better and/or more favorable conditions overall such as better and/or more access to education, jobs, and/or health/medical care.
Dominant and/or ingroup members establish privileges for themselves which the outgroup and/or so-called minority groups do not have. Of course, this is done for a reason. Dominant and/or ingroup members want to establish their sovereignty over groups who they deemed to be undesirable and/or unacceptable for one reason or another.
Dominant and/or ingroup members consider themselves to be the elite and they intend to remain such. They establish more restrictive, repressive, and generally more stringent rules for members of the outgroup and/or so-called minority groups. This is done for the reason of repressing them and/or relegating them into second and/or third class status.
Members of such outgroups and/or so-called minorities are often relegated to less than desirable conditions whether it is housing, educational access, jobs/employment opportunities, and/or health care. They are also treated more differentially than the ingroup in terms of so-called justice under the law and/or related instances. Oftentimes, members who are considered to be members of an outgroup are often punished for offenses that similarly situated ingroup members are allowed to get away with. A quite illustrious example of such treatment is in many job situations, a non-Caucasian and/or other member of what is considered to be an outgroup is written up and/or disciplined for making a minor mistake regarding a job assignment while nothing is said to a similarly situated Caucasian and/or other member in an ingroup. Another case in point -a person from a lower socioeconomic background is often imprisoned and/or punished more harshly for the same offense that a wealthier person either gets away with or receives a much lighter sentence.
The issue of prejudice is a complex one. In addition to most of us being prejudiced in one way or another, there are degrees which many of us are prejudiced. Some of us are mildly prejudiced while quite a few of us are vehemently prejudiced. The mildly prejudiced person can choose not to be effected by the object of his/her prejudice while the vehemently prejudiced person is avidly consumed by the object of his/her prejudice. There are quite a few people so vehemently prejudiced against the object that they become quite agitated at the thought of this object. They cannot stand the sight of the object or objects so to speak. Some even suggest that there should be segregation while others strongly advocate the eradication and/or annihilation of the object/objects of their particular prejudice.
Many people are prejudiced because they subconsciously possess characteristics which they deem undesirable. Instead of facing to their undesirable characteristics and remedying them if necessary, they displace those undesirable characteristics into a group which they deem to be unacceptable and/or an outgroup. In essence, the outgroup is often a scapegoat for their subconscious and/or repressed desires and characteristics.
For example, a man may be sensitive and/or have characteristics which he deem to be effeminate. He considered himself to be a real man and real men are not supposed to manifest their more vulnerable characteristics. So he strongly detests these character traits within himself and he displaces such characteristics by being prejudiced against more sensitive and/or gay men.
A second illustrative case in point is a sexual repressed woman who wants to openly express her sexuality. However, she was indoctrinated with the premise that decent and nice women should never be overtly sexual. So she represses her innate sexuality and portends that any woman who dares to be sexual is either easy, a tramp, and/or a slut.
People are prejudiced as a part of the upmanship game. There are people who want to feel superior to others for one reason or another. Many of them feel quite insignificant within themselves and they need someone whom they deem as inferior in order to assuage their ego and their sense of being. It actually gives them a rise to portend that they are on top of the situation.
Of course, power is a component of prejudice. Many people believe in power and thrive on it. Ingroup members are usually more powerful than those of the outgroup. They know that they are powerful and feel that they can use that power any way they please.
History is rife with ingroup members oppressing, enslaving, and/or oftentimes outright annihilating outgroup members in a bid to retain their power. The underlying concept of prejudice is power. One must always be sovreign at all times and if a member of a group which is considered to be an outsider and/or lesser, it is not to be tolerated and any means is permissible to keep the outgroup members in their respective place so to speak.
Ingroup members are not the only ones affected by prejudice. Many outgroup members learn to hate themselves and/or members of their own particular group as a result of the negative differential and disparate treatment they have received at the hands of ingroup members. There are many members of an outgroup who establish the same parameters of judgement which approximate the culture and mores of the ingroup. For example, within the Black community, Blacks who have lighter skinned, Europid features, and straighter hair are often treated more preferentially than darker skinned Blacks with Africoid features and kinkier hair. In essence, outgroup members who appear to be like the dominant, ingroup in their particular society are afforded higher and a more privileged status within that outgroup.
Then there is the phenomena of passing within some outgroup members. There are some outgroup members who feel so negatively about being members of their particular outgroup that they wish to disassociate completely from that group and to belong to the ingroup. These members believe that by belonging to the ingroup in question, they will be afforded all the socioeconomic and sociopolitical privileges that they did not have while they belonged to their specific outgroup. There are many instances of people from minority groups and/or outgroups who passed for members of a specific ingroup because they wanted a better and less unencumbered life. They wanted a life of human dignity instead living on the outskirts so to speak.
In conclusion, most people are prejudiced in one way or another although they are loathe to admit it. Many people are prejudiced in degrees whether mildly or extremely. The mildly prejudiced person is not really affected by the object of his/her prejudice. He/she can take it or leave it. However, the more extremely prejudiced person is affected almost every moment regarding his/her prejudice. There are many extremely prejudiced people who advocate removal of the object of his/her prejudice whether it is segregation and/or outright extermination.
Many prejudiced people displaced their most negative characteristics and/or personalities upon the so-called despised outgroup members. In essence, many outgroup members are scapegoats for the negative subconscious tendencies of the ingroup who do not wish to face their deepest fears and phobias. Many people are prejudice because they want to feel more significant, powerful, and better than the outgroup whom they are prejudiced against.
Not only ingroup members are prejudiced. There are many outgroup members who are prejudiced against members of their own outgroup. They feel negative about themselves and often project this negativity towards members of their own particular outgroup. There are some members of outgroups who wish to cut off all ties to their particular outgroup because they feel that they more privileged by belonging to the ingroup than to be a continuous castigated member of their outgroup.
Of course, prejudice is with us. It will continue to be with us until we finally come to the realization that we are all one. Artificial barriers are totally inconsequential, it is the whole human person that counts.
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© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams