Definition Of Prejudice

Essay by itoldembaloneyCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Each citizen within the American society has their own definition of the word "prejudice". One might view "Prejudice" as a premature judgment--a positive or a negative attitude towards a person or group of people which is not based on objective facts. These prejudgments are usually based on stereotypes which are oversimplified and over generalized views of groups or types of people. Or a prejudgment may be based on an emotional experience we have had with a similar person, sort of our own personal stereotype. Stereotypes also provide us with role expectations, i.e. how we expect the other person or a group of people to relate to us and to other people. Our culture has hundreds of ready-made stereotypes: leaders are dominant, arrogant men, housewives are nice but empty headed, and teenagers are music crazed car-fanatics and on and on. Of course, sometimes a leader or housewife or teenager is somewhat like the stereotype but it is an injustice to automatically assume they all are.

"Prejudice", in the form of negative put-downs, justifies oppression and helps the "prejudice" people feel "on top" and feel okay about being there. "Prejudice" can be a hostile, resentful feeling--an unfounded dislike for someone, an unfair blaming or degradation of others. It is a degrading attitude that helps them feel superior. Of course, the misjudged and oppressed person resents the unfair judgment. One may be positively or negatively biased towards a person or group; this behavior does not necessarily reflect the attitude ("prejudice") one feels towards that person or group. Common "prejudices" in our country involve blacks, women, Jews, Arabs, Japanese, Germans, poor (welfare), rich, farmers, rednecks, obese, handicapped, unattractive, uneducated, elderly, Catholics, Communists, atheists, fundamentalists, homosexuals, Latinos, Indians, and lots of others.

When we are "prejudice", we violate three...