Different kinds of Prejudice Today
One fact that everyone can agree on, regardless of where they live in the world, is that people are different. People come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. People believe in different religions, have different political views, and even have differing views on how to raise children. With all the differences in the world instead of embracing those differences and learning from other people, prejudices are commonplace.
What is Prejudice?
According to dictionary.com, the definition of prejudice is “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Another definition is one that appears more accurate for the attitudes of today. The second definition states that prejudice is, “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.”
In many instances, people who have a prejudice against another group will go out of their way to make life more difficult for those people. Sometimes these prejudices lead to lawsuits and others result in damage inflicted upon a group or individual either physically or through slanderous lies. Prejudice, on any level, can do tremendous damage to those targeted.
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Types of Prejudice
A number of types of prejudice exist in society today. The following are just a few of the most prominent prejudices.
- Racism – Racism is a form of prejudice that has been around for centuries. One of the most common forms of racism is racism against black/African-Americans. There are preconceived notions that black people are lazy, violet, drug dealers, and live on welfare. These prejudices have led to tremendous tension between the races as well as a great deal of violence.
- Sexual Orientation – As more people come out of the closet as being homosexual or bisexual acceptance has not surpassed those who only believe in heterosexual relations. Some members of society have developed misconceptions regarding the lifestyles of non-heterosexuals. People consider them sinners who are doing things that are unnatural and immoral. Others see them as sexual deviants who prey on innocent children, etc.
- Religion – People of all faiths are victims of religious persecution and discrimination. People saddle entire religions with stereotypes and untruths because of the negative actions of some that they claim they did on behalf, or for, their God. Christians and Muslims are two religious groups who suffer because of prejudice.
- Sex/Gender – When it comes to sexism historically, the belief is that men are better than, or rate higher than women rate. A direct result of this sexism is men earning a higher wage and getting the more desirable jobs. With people who are transgender being more open about their status another form of prejudice developed. Many people use their religious affiliations to say transgender is unnatural, thus resulting in people hiding who they are for fear of repercussions against them.
- Sizeism – This prejudice discriminates against people who do not fit into the accepted standards of beauty in society today. If someone is too tall, short, thin, or fat they suffer different forms of abuse. Because of the prejudice against overweight members of society, there are groups seeking acceptance of people of all shapes and sizes because no two people are the same.
Prejudice has no place in society. People who may be the victim of one form of prejudice may turn around and subject others to discrimination for another reason. The only way for prejudice to become a thing of the past is for everyone to accept that despite our differences, we all members of the human race.
When a person hears the word prejudice, he or she might think it only refers to the racial prejudice often found between those with light skin and those with dark skin. However, prejudice runs much deeper than a person’s color. Prejudice is found between gender, religion, cultural and geographical background, and race. People have discriminated against others based upon these attributes from the beginning of time. Prejudice has become a complex problem in our society today and much of our world’s history is based upon such hatred. In the 1600’s, white men used Africans as slaves and treated them as if they were not human. “Colored” people were not even allowed to use the same drinking fountains as white people until the mid-1900’s. Hitler and his men killed over five million people because they were Jewish or were not their definition of “normal.” The Ku Klux Klan exists today and openly professes its hatred towards Jews and colored people. Our society is riddled with such hatred based upon peoples’ beliefs and origins and it seems millions are fighting each other for no relevant reason at all.
I do believe that we can greatly reduce the amount of prejudice in our world today, yet I do not think that it will ever completely go away. Society has seemingly come to except all races, religions, and genders, and supposedly has achieved “political correctness,” yet there will forever be individuals who discriminate based upon these issues. These individuals often form large groups that recruit new members to enforce their hatred of those with a certain religion or skin tone. Obviously, no one can tell these people that they cannot have their own opinions or beliefs, for they have the right to hate whomever they like. However, I believe we need to raise our children to accept all people, no matter what god they do or do not believe in or what color skin they may have. If children are raised around people who are not the same as they are, then they will most likely not think anything different of people who do not look the same as them or believe what they believe. If we raise our children to believe all people are equal from the start, then prejudice will slowly disintegrate over time.
We, as the human race, need to focus on not judging people before we know them for who they are. Today, there are so many different people in this world that stereotypes are almost always incorrect, as many people choose not to be followers, but to be individuals. I know many white people who, if they see a young black male standing on the corner, wearing a certain type of clothing, will discern that he is in a gang and has intentions of hurting others. How could someone say such a thing when all they have seen is one’s appearance? The boy standing there could be a great student in school who helps others and plans to become someone important in the future. Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, and all other ethnic groups need to look past each other’s physical attributes and start looking inside a person to see who they truly are. After all, personalities do not lie on the outside of one’s body, but in one’s mind.
I believe people need to stop “following the crowd” and form their own opinions. I am very sure that few members of the Ku Klux Klan originally felt as if whites are superior to all other races. They simply felt as if they would fit in better and would be more popular or on a higher level if they believed such ideas. As the Klan gained members, it became more powerful and an increasing number of people felt as if their lives would be improved if they joined the group. Parents and schools need to teach children that people need to have courtesy and kindness towards others, no matter what. People join these racist and religiously biased groups because they feel it will make their lives better, not caring about the others who will be affected by their hatred. Parents need to instill in their children the value of one treating others as they, themselves, would like to be treated truly are.
If everyone in this world had respect for one another, we would live in peace and be able to let others believe in what they wish and accept that everyone is different. I believe it all comes down to parents teaching their children right from wrong in our world and raising them in an environment that is centered around acceptance of different ways of life and cultures of people. If we all teach our children and change our ways, sometime in our future we will be closer to accepting that a man’s character is based upon the content of his soul, not his religion, gender, ethnicity, or the color of his skin.
Filed Under: Discrimination, Gender, Social Issues