prejudice

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prejudice,

unsubstantiated prejudgment of an individual or group, favorable or unfavorable in character, tending to action in a consonant direction. The hostility that prejudice can engender and the discrimination to which it may lead on the part of a dominant population toward an ethnic group, gender, religious or linguistic minority have caused great human suffering throughout history. Some researchers attribute prejudice to deep-rooted "fear of the stranger," while others cite religious or nationalist chauvinism, and fear of economic competition. Most, however, agree that prejudice is learned and can be reduced when members of different communities work together toward the realization of a common goal or when groups intermarry. Since prejudice and discrimination each contribute to the origin and growth of the other, prejudice can be reduced by removing discrimination, and a change in discriminatory institutions usually leads to a change in attitudes.

Bibliography

See G. Allport, the Nature of Prejudice (1979); R. Williams, Mutual Accommodation (1979); T. Pettigrew, Sociology of Race Relations (1980).

prejudice

any opinion or ATTITUDE which is unjustified by the facts. The term tends to have a negative connotation both because a prejudiced person's opinions are unfounded and often not formed through first-hand experience, and also because the attitudes described are usually negative in relation to the object they are held about. However, one can hold a positive but prejudiced attitude. Prejudice has been related to personality type (see AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY), and also to group membership. As with all attitudes, prejudices are the result of social learning within families and other social groups where opportunities for modelling and strong pressures towards conformity exist. See also STEREOTYPE, ETHNOCENTRISM.

Prejudice

 

an opinion that precedes reason and is adopted uncritically, without reflection. The Russian term for “prejudice” is also applied to irrational components of social and individual consciousness, including superstitions associated with religion.

A prejudice is an unfavorable social attitude toward some phenomenon. Not based on critically tested experience, stereotyped and emotionally colored, it is nevertheless highly stable and not very susceptible to change in the face of rational information. Ethnic and racial prejudices are especially persistent. Prejudices also exist in other spheres of social psychology.

Like any sociopsychological stereotype, ethnic prejudice has dual roots—socioeconomic and psychological. Ethnic prejudices and feelings of racial and national enmity are rooted in the objective conditions of social life, which place people in hostile relations with each other. Distrust and suspicion of the “outsider” were already entrenched in the ethnocentrism of primitive thought, which by necessity was limited to the framework of one’s own clan and tribe. “We” was defined through correlation and opposition with some other group— “them.” With the development of exchange and intertribal contact, people’s notions about other ethnic communities became more complex, but the content and emotional coloration of these notions always reflected the specific history of the interrelations of the respective groups. Neutral or friendly relations engendered neutral or positive stereotypes. A dependent, subordinate group with a lower level of civilization would draw a condescending and contemptuous attitude and would be represented with traits of childlike naïvete and intellectual inferiority (the typical image of the “native” in 19th century colonial folklore). A rival group, conversely, would be perceived as hostile and dangerous; its members would be represented with traits of aggressiveness, craftiness, and moral unreliability. The appropriate stereotypes would be solidly entrenched in the mass consciousness and sanctified by religion.

In an antagonistic class society, ethnic prejudices not only grow spontaneously out of the depths of mass psychology as specific, albeit distorted, forms of symbolization of social conflicts, but they are also consciously disseminated and propagated by reactionary classes in order to disunite the working people and divert their attention from fundamental social problems. Hence the essential prerequisites for eliminating all national and racial prejudices are the destruction of classes and of exploitation of man by man and wide-scale educational work in a socialist society.

However, prejudice is not only a social but also a psychological phenomenon. A stereotype that is one and the same in terms of objective content may in one instance be simply a means of adaptation to a social situation—for example, racist attitudes in a society where racial inequality is the norm—while in another it is a defense mechanism for an individual who projects onto an “outsider” his own, unrecognized, qualities. A psychological interpretation of national and other prejudices that claims to replace a sociohistorical and class-oriented analysis is reactionary and untenable. However, the study of the dialectics of cognitive, emotional, and volitional components of prejudice or the relationship between social attitude and real behavior is of great importance for developing effective methods of upbringing.

I. S. KON

prejudice

without prejudice Law without dismissing or detracting from an existing right or claim
References in classic literature ?
More important were his dogmatism of opinion, his intense prejudices, and the often seemingly brutal dictatorial violence with which he enforced them.
Yet after all, many of these prejudices rested on important principles which were among the most solid foundations of Johnson's nature and largely explain his real greatness, namely on sound commonsense, moral and intellectual independence, and hatred of insincerity.
Rebecca had had to stand on a chair to reach them; now she could do it by stretching; and this is symbolic of the way in which she unconsciously scaled the walls of Miss Miranda's dogmatism and prejudice.
There, again, is the constitutional shrinking, through a kind of metaphysical prejudice, from the concrete--that fear of the actual--in this case, of the Church of history; to which the admissions, which form so large a part of these volumes, naturally lead.
He rather enjoyed seeing his own prejudice against women grotesquely reflected in this flighty stranger's prejudice against men.
My father had a strong prejudice against the Scotch nation.
Such humble talents as God has given me I will endeavour to put to their greatest use; if I am able to amuse, I will try to benefit too; and when I feel it my duty to speak an unpalatable truth, with the help of God, I WILL speak it, though it be to the prejudice of my name and to the detriment of my reader's immediate pleasure as well as my own.
Those," he said, "came nearer to the Scripture meaning, who understood by it candour, or the forming of a benevolent opinion of our brethren, and passing a favourable judgment on their actions; a virtue much higher, and more extensive in its nature, than a pitiful distribution of alms, which, though we would never so much prejudice, or even ruin our families, could never reach many; whereas charity, in the other and truer sense, might be extended to all mankind.
But it has not been quite so often remarked that this power (fallible, like every other human attribute) is for the most part absolutely incapable of self-revision; and that when it has delivered an adverse opinion which by all human lights is subsequently proved to have failed, it is undistinguishable from prejudice, in respect of its determination not to be corrected.
I have good dispositions; my life has been hitherto harmless and in some degree beneficial; but a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes, and where they ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a detestable monster.
Well, my dear,' says I, 'then I have but one condition more to make with you, and that is, that as there is nobody concerned in it but you and I, you shall not discover it to any person in the world, except your own mother; and that in all the measures you shall take upon the discovery, as I am equally concerned in it with you, though as innocent as yourself, you shall do nothing in a passion, nothing to my prejudice or to your mother's prejudice, without my knowledge and consent.
If I have a prejudice connected with money and money figures,' continued Doyce, laying that plastic workman's thumb of his on the lapel of his partner's coat, 'it is against speculating.