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Old 05-26-2005, 10:30 AM   #1
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Prejudices

It is my belief that prejudice is a natural (not genetic, but learned and naturally reinforced by society) and that everyone has them. Once that is recognized people can work hard grow and move beyond their prejudices.

I am thinking about this because I was deeply offended last night when a woman who works where my ipod was stolen said that "one of the black members probably stole it" because "they have no morals." My wife and I were talking about it over lunch and she told me that she had/has a real problem with non-english speaking, mexican men because she had some really terrible experiences working in resturants. We, however, work with a lot of spanish speaking mexican immigrants so she had/has grown to leave behind those prejudices.

So my questions are - who are/were you prejudiced against? Why? And how do you work to overcome it?


Mods - if this thread becomes insensitive - please close it immediately. Thanks,
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Prejudice 'Hard-Wired' Into Brain Study Claims

(Tempe, Arizona) Prejudice is a form of "common sense", hard-wired into the human brain through evolution as an adaptive response to protect our prehistoric ancestors from danger, according to a new study by researchers at Arizona State University.

"By nature, people are group-living animals -- a strategy that enhances individual survival and leads to what we might call a 'tribal psychology'," says Steven Neuberg, ASU professor of social psychology, who authored the study with doctoral student Catherine Cottrell.

"It was adaptive for our ancestors to be attuned to those outside the group who posed threats such as to physical security, health or economic resources, and to respond to these different kinds of threats in ways tailored to have a good chance of reducing them."

The study appears in the May issue of the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology".

The study contends that, because human survival was based on group living, "outsiders" were viewed as – and often were – very real threats.

Unfortunately, says Neuberg, because evolved psychological tendencies are imperfectly attuned to the existence of dangers, people may react negatively to groups and their members even when they actually pose no realistic threat.

Neuberg and Cottrell had 235 European American students at ASU think about nine different groups: gay men, activist feminists, African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, fundamentalist Christians, Mexican Americans, Native Americans and nonfundamentalist Christians.

The researchers then had the participants rate these groups on the threats they pose to American society (e.g., to physical safety, values, health, etc.) and report the emotions they felt toward these groups (e.g., fear, anger, disgust, pity, etc.).

Consistent with the researchers' hypotheses, findings revealed that distinct prejudices exist toward different groups of people. Some groups elicited prejudices characterized largely by fear, others by disgust, others by anger, and so on. Moreover, the different "flavors" of prejudice were associated with different patterns of perceived threat.

Follow-up work further shows that these different prejudices motivate inclinations toward different kinds of discrimination, in ways apparently aimed at reducing the perceived threat.

"Groups seen as posing threats to physical safety elicit fear and self-protective actions, groups seen as choosing to take more than they give elicit anger and inclinations toward aggression, and groups seen as posing health threats elicit disgust and the desire to avoid close physical contact," says Cottrell.

"One important practical implication of this research is that we may need to create different interventions to reduce inappropriate prejudices against different groups," says Neuberg.

For example, if one is trying to decrease prejudices among new college students during freshman orientation, different strategies might be used for bringing different groups together.

"For instance, given that whites stereotypically perceive blacks as threats to physical safety, it would be inadvisable to suggest a game of outdoor night-time basketball, given that darkness heightens people's fear. Sharing a plate of nachos might be a better choice," Cottrell says. "But if the aim is to reduce prejudice against gay men – viewed to pose a health treat because of association with AIDS, and thereby eliciting physical disgust –sharing finger food might not be a good idea."

Neuberg and Cottrell are both adamant to point out that just because prejudices are a fundamental and natural part of what makes us human, that doesn't mean that learning can't take place and that responses can't be dampened.

"People sometimes assume that because we say prejudice has evolved roots we are saying that specific prejudices can't be changed. That's simply not the case," Neuberg says. "What we think and feel and how we behave is typically the result of complex interactions between biological tendencies and learning experiences. Evolution may have prepared our minds to be prejudiced, but our environment influences the specific targets of those prejudices and how we act on them."
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:34 AM   #3
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Originally posted by melon


Melon

Interesting read Melon, what do you think?
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:45 AM   #4
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Move this to FYM - it will get far more discussion
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:49 AM   #5
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My bad. This is where I meant to post it.


Is it Friday yet?
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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I recognized a prejudice within myself the other day and now I can't remember what it was. If it's not Friday yet it should be.
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:06 AM   #7
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To the extent that the article posted by Melon is true, it will turn the way we address "rights" through the political process upside down.
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:12 PM   #8
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I would love to write about my prejudices, but I wouldn't know where to begin... and I'd offend too many people. Being a Mod, I sorta can't do that.

Oh, and neither can you guys. So play nice.

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Old 05-26-2005, 01:40 PM   #9
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Does this create a right to be prejudicial, if it is an inherent trait?


My instincts tell me the study is flawed/wrong
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:36 PM   #10
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I'm prejudiced against U2 fans, I can't stand them. Joke.
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Old 05-26-2005, 02:37 PM   #11
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I remember watching 'Do the Right Thing' in high school(it was actually at a church youth function which raised quite a controversy) the purpose of showing the film was to show that all, no matter what we think, have prejudices. When I was younger I always thought prejudices were only those based on race or sex. We had to write down those prejudices that we recognised in ourselves and then rip them up and make steps to remove them.

We all have them, I know I do, but I'm constantly trying to rid myself of them when I recognise them. But yes I believe they're all learned and reinforced by society, family, friends, etc.

In fact today I read a study that showed weight was a factor in women on how they advanced financially, but in men it wasn't.
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Old 05-26-2005, 04:33 PM   #12
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I grew up in a small-town Southern town near Birmingham, Alabama. I remember the kids at school telling racist jokes, and I'm afraid I cracked a few of them myself. However, my parents didn't tolerate this at all and they told me it was wrong. I chose to agree with my parents rather than the kids at school. Now that I'm an adult, in Birmingham, I have found that I can be terribly prejudiced against people from out in the country. I realize this is stupid and unfair, but I catch myself in it nevertheless.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:21 PM   #13
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Am i prejuudice? Yes.

Naturally.

I would prefer to live in an all white neighbourhood, with my friends.

This is hard to say. My neighbourhood has been increasingly grown towards a muslim based community. I dont like for two reasons, i am now becoming the minority, and secondly when i went to high school the 'lebs' (Lebense) fought with the Catholic school all the time.

I'm not proud of it but I dont fit into their culture and am not going to change, so I'm moving.

This is a simple prejudice that occurs day in and day out in normal white communities.

Its not that I dont like other cultures, because, if you really knew me you would know race doesnt matter, its that it is hard to become accepting of another culture that youre unfamiliar with.
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Old 05-27-2005, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

In fact today I read a study that showed weight was a factor in women on how they advanced financially, but in men it wasn't.
That doesn't surprise me at all. I think weight is ultimately the most accepted prejudice, even more so than prejudice against homosexuals. Even more so for women. Society will holds women to a much higher standard regarding weight, I don't see how that can be denied.

I have prejudices of course, even though I try my damndest not to. I am human and thus seriously flawed and imperfect. The goal I constantly strive for is to have my biggest prejudice be against prejudiced and bigoted people.
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Does this create a right to be prejudicial, if it is an inherent trait?


My instincts tell me the study is flawed/wrong
Quote:
Neuberg and Cottrell are both adamant to point out that just because prejudices are a fundamental and natural part of what makes us human, that doesn't mean that learning can't take place and that responses can't be dampened.

"People sometimes assume that because we say prejudice has evolved roots we are saying that specific prejudices can't be changed. That's simply not the case," Neuberg says. "What we think and feel and how we behave is typically the result of complex interactions between biological tendencies and learning experiences. Evolution may have prepared our minds to be prejudiced, but our environment influences the specific targets of those prejudices and how we act on them."
The point of the study was to possibly discover more effective ways to end prejudice.

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