Human beings are passionate creatures. Our passions drive us, give us a sense of belonging, and unite us as few other things can. Still, there are only a couple of passions that have been constanted down the ages, passions that people from every place and culture can agree on. Love is one, but another is PREJUDICE.
What is prejudice? A prejudice is a preconceived belief, opinion, or judgment toward a group of people or a single person because of race, social class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, political believes, religion, line of work or other personal characteristics, It also means a priori belief (without knowledge of the facts) and includes “any unreasonable attitude that is usually resistant to rational influence”. Although positive and negative prejudice both exist, when used negatively, prejudice implies fear and antipathy toward such a group or person.
In sociologist’s point of view, they term prejudice an adaptive behavior. Have you ever notice your feeling toward a person in the first meeting? Like? Dislike? Hate? Did you start to form some unrational evaluations about that person? If the answer is “yes”, it means you have some prejudice about him/her. In this situation, prejudice is used as mental shortcut to warn us away from liars, cheats and other no good bastards. If anyone is hateful to you, you never want to have any kind of business with them, do you? In my opinion, prejudice seems like a kind of intuition or sense. It tells you not to stay close to certain people who may become potential troubles or annoyance (it sounds a bit subjective huh? ^^).
Scientists started getting seriously interested in prejudice just after the Second War World. And through their studies, they found out some considerable results. Have you ever thought that people use prejudice as a way to make them feel better? The answer is that it is possible. In 1997, Steven Fein and Steven Spencer carried out an experiment. They used a résumé and photo of a job candidate, made some subtle alterations in her name, hair style, activitives, affiliation, religion from the origin. One girl was named Julie and was a Jewish. The other’s name was Maria. Then, they had people rate how nice a person Julie/Maria was, and whether to recommend her for a job. However, before they completed the task, they were made to feel bad. The reseachers gave everyone impossibly hard logic puzzles, telling them that it was an important and widely used IQ test. Of course, most of the test-takers scored very badly. Do you want to know the result? Julie was given much worse reviews than her (otherwise identical) alter ego Maria. Interesting? Funny? And the reseachers discovered that dumping on the Jewish girl seemed to cause people’s self -esteem to recover from the humilliation of the impossible IQ test. In the other term, they used prejudice as a cruel shortcut back to equanimity. If you pay enough attention. you will see that this kind of situation usually happen around us. In chatting , people sometimes stab on the friends’, co-workers’, or even their wife’s/husband’s back (especially when they have just made you angry or disappointed). In philosophy’s view, it seems to be “if life hands you lemons, pelt them at someone until you feel better”.
Now, we will analyze one more example to see if people creat prejudice on any other purposes. Suppose that Sherif and Eagle are opponent teams. Imagine taking to one of Sherif’s member. He could probably tell you that Eagles are jerks, liars and cheats. He would tell you that they are stupid and tricky. You might ask “How do you KNOW they are stupid?”. “Easy, ” they would said, “because they are”. You may think that speaking ill to each other like that is not fair play. But in this case, they only try to use prejudice to make their group more cohesive. Does it make sense ? Yes, it does. Humans have clumper together since prehistoric times for protection, and that impulse still runs strong in us, especially when we face with a threat. When the United States was attacked on September 11th, 2001, people turn to each other for support. When your country is invaded, the same thing happens. There is a twisted yet compelling logic which says that if people pull together in face of an enemy, and if pulling together is what you want, then what you really need ia an enemy.
In my opinion, human being is not only passionate but also amazing creatures. Through learning about physical and mental, sentimental and behavioral facets of humans, we find more and more interesting things. And prejudice is one of wonderful aspect, which should be concerned and studied carefully.
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PS: I have not written blog before. And I also know that I am not good at Literature. So, I am very happy if you read and comment about whatever mistake in my entry. Your commennts are good lessons for me. Please comment.