Hugh Fox Prejudice

Objective: The student will be able to define prejudice, list causes of prejudice, list types of prejudice, list solutions to prejudice, list manifestations of prejudice and apply this knowledge to a particular nation.

Worksheet at:

1.0) What is prejudice?

Prejudice is a negative attitude about members of a group. Prejudice translated into behavior is called discrimination, behaving differently, usually unfairly, toward group members. Prejudice often develops through stereotypes, fixed, simplistic (usually wrong) conceptions of traits, behaviors, and attitudes of a particular group of people. The widely practiced discrimination termed sexism is based on a gender stereotype that women are inferior.

2.0) What are the causes of prejudice?

While the causes of prejudice are complex, the following have been suggested as methods of acquiring prejudiced beliefs.

2.1) Social learning theory: Children learn prejudice by watching parents and friends.

2.2) Motivational theory: People motivated to achieve success develop negative views about competitors and generalize those views to all members of the competitors’ group.

2.3) Personality theory: People develop prejudices because of experiences during their development. For example, a person reared by a red-haired authoritarian woman who uses physical punishment may develop a prejudice against all women with red hair.

2.4) Cognitive theory: People conceptualize their world by using mental shortcuts to organize it, for example, by thinking such things as “all homeless people are alike.”

2.5) Conflict theory: In order to hold onto their distinctive social status, power, and possessions, privileged groups are invested in seeing that no competition for resources arises from minority groups. The powerful may even be ready to resort to extreme acts of violence against others to protect their interests. As a result, members of underprivileged groups may retaliate with violence in an attempt to improve their circumstances.

3.0) What are some types of prejudice?

3.1) Ageism

3.2) Class Discrimination

3.3) Homophobia

3.4) Nationalism

3.5) Racism

3.6) Religious prejudice

3.7) Sexism


4.0) How can prejudice be eliminated?

4.1) Self-esteem hypothesis: When people have an appropriate education and higher self-esteem, their prejudices will go away.

4.2) Contact hypothesis: The best answer to prejudice is to bring together members of different groups so they can learn to appreciate their common experiences and backgrounds.

4.3) Cooperation hypothesis: Conflicting groups need to cooperate by laying aside their individual interests and learning to work together for shared goals.

4.4) Legal hypothesis: Prejudice can be eliminated by enforcing laws against discriminative behavior.

4.5) Cooperative learning: Learning that involves collaborative interactions between students, while surely of positive value to students, does not assure reduction of hostility between conflicting groups. Cooperation is usually too limited and too brief to surmount all the influences in a person’s life.

5.0) What are some manifestations of prejudice?

Allport’s Scale 

Allport’s Scale of Prejudice goes from 1 – 5.

5.1) Antilocution: Antilocution means a majority group freely make jokes about a minority group. Speech is in terms of negative stereotypes and negative images. This is also called hate speech. It is commonly seen as harmless by the majority. Antilocution itself may not be harmful, but it sets the stage for more severe outlets for prejudice. (e.g. Ethnic jokes)

5.2) Avoidance: Members of the majority group actively avoid people in a minority group. No direct harm may be intended, but harm is done through isolation. (e.g. Social exclusion)

5.3) Discrimination: Minority group is discriminated against by denying them opportunities and services and so putting prejudice into action. Behaviors have the specific goal of harming the minority group by preventing them from achieving goals, getting education or jobs, etc. The majority group is actively trying to harm the minority. (e.g. Jim Crow laws, Apartheid, Koreans in Japan)

5.4) Physical Attack: The majority group vandalize, burn or destroy minority group property and carry out violent attacks on individuals or groups. Physical harm is done to members of the minority group. Examples are lynchings of blacks, pogroms against Jews in Europe and British Loyalists in the 1700s.

5.5) Extermination: The majority group seeks extermination or removal of the minority group.[2] They attempt to eliminate either the entire or a large fraction of a group of people (e.g., Indian Wars to remove Native Americans, American lynchings, Final Solution to the “Jewish Question” in Germany, the Rwandan Genocide, and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia).

6.0) Use Allport‘s Scale to fill out the following chart:

Type United States   Then United States   Now
Ageism Greater   respect for elders? Age   Discrimination in Employment Act   of 1967 (ADEA)
Class Discrimination  Social   Darwinism
Homophobia  Closeted Gay pride
Nationalism  Ugly   American (1958) American exceptionalism
Racism  Thirteenth Amendment to the United   States Constitution List of US LegislationAnti-Arabism
Religious prejudice  First Amendment of the United States   Constitution Islamaphobia
Sexism Pink ghetto Equal Pay Act 1963Equal Rights Amendment 1972 (ERA)


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