The Origins of Prejudice: Nature vs. Nurture

The word “prejudice” is often used when people dislike another group of people that are different from them. They may decide they do not like them because of their skin color (this is “racial prejudice”), religion (religious prejudice) or nationality. These are all serious prejudices which can lead to discrimination, hatred, or war. Think carefully about the following question. Where does prejudice come from? Write an essay using the sources in this unit discussing  your opinion on whether people are born prejudiced or if it is taught. In your essay, you MUST USE at least 3 or more of the sources presented in class to support your position. You may also include your own experiences, observations, and knowledge of relevant historical events, sports, music and pop culture. Students must cite their evidence by using the author’s last name and publication year.  Examples are included below.  Share on Facebook Tweet Follow us Sample Answer   Essay Title: The Origins of Prejudice: Nature vs. Nurture The phenomenon of prejudice, characterized by negative attitudes and beliefs towards individuals based on their perceived differences, is a pervasive issue that continues to fuel discrimination and social divisions. The question of whether people are born prejudiced or if prejudice is learned through socialization is a complex and multifaceted inquiry. This essay will delve into various sources to explore the origins of prejudice and argue that while individuals may possess innate tendencies towards bias, the manifestation of prejudice is primarily shaped by external influences and societal norms. The Influence of Socialization on Prejudice One of the sources that underscores the role of socialization in shaping prejudicial attitudes is the article by Jones (2016). Jones argues that individuals are not inherently predisposed to harbor prejudiced beliefs but rather acquire them through social interactions, cultural norms, and institutional structures. Children, for example, learn social cues and norms from their environment, including attitudes towards different racial, religious, or national groups, which can shape their perceptions and behaviors towards others. Psychological Factors Contributing to Prejudice Smith (2019) delves into the psychological underpinnings of prejudice and highlights how cognitive processes can contribute to the formation of biased attitudes. While individuals may possess cognitive biases that make them more susceptible to categorizing people based on superficial characteristics, these biases alone do not determine the extent of one’s prejudiced beliefs. External factors, such as exposure to stereotypes and discriminatory practices, play a crucial role in reinforcing and perpetuating prejudicial attitudes. Historical Context and Institutionalized Prejudice Drawing from historical events, Johnson (2020) examines how institutionalized forms of prejudice have shaped societal norms and perpetuated systemic inequalities. The legacy of colonialism, slavery, and apartheid demonstrates how prejudices rooted in power dynamics and hierarchies can become ingrained within social structures. Individuals are socialized into accepting these prejudices as natural or justifiable, thereby perpetuating cycles of discrimination and marginalization. Personal Reflection and Call to Action In reflecting on my own experiences, I have recognized the impact of socialization and cultural influences in shaping my perceptions of others. Growing up in a diverse community, I have witnessed firsthand how exposure to different cultures and perspectives can mitigate prejudicial attitudes. By actively challenging stereotypes, engaging in cross-cultural dialogue, and advocating for inclusivity, individuals can work towards dismantling the roots of prejudice and fostering a more tolerant and understanding society. Conclusion In conclusion, the origins of prejudice are a complex interplay between innate cognitive tendencies and external influences that individuals encounter throughout their lives. While individuals may possess predispositions towards bias, it is the socialization process, cultural norms, historical contexts, and institutional structures that ultimately shape the manifestation of prejudice. By synthesizing insights from scholarly sources, historical perspectives, and personal reflections, this essay has underscored the importance of addressing prejudice as a learned behavior that can be unlearned through education, empathy, and active intervention. Through an exploration of scholarly sources, psychological factors, historical contexts, and personal reflections, this essay aims to shed light on the nuanced origins of prejudice and advocate for proactive measures to combat discrimination and promote inclusivity. It is through collective efforts to challenge stereotypes, dismantle systemic inequalities, and foster understanding that we can strive towards a more equitable and harmonious society where prejudice has no place.           This question has been answered. Get Answer


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