Discrimination in America
Prejudice is the negative attitude based on false generalizations about members of different racial and ethnic groups. From prejudice, discrimination is born. We all are guilty of discriminating other people, but one can only speculate the factors that bring about this hatred towards one another. Although a single cause cannot account for the presence of racism, factors such as socialization, self-justification, and competition are a few human attributes that lead to acts of racial discrimination.
At an early age, children begin the process of socialization. In order for one to be able to communicate with others, it is essential for one to learn to socialize with the people around them. One cause of racism is what a young child learns from his or her parents. Parents become the sole teaching source in terms of the values and beliefs that are picked up by their young and impressionable children. Vincent Parrillo, a chairperson of the Department of sociology at William Paterson College, suggests that individuals are molded by the people around them. “We thus learn the prejudices of our parents and others, and they subtly become a part of our values an beliefs”. A child’s upbringing lays the foundations for their social skills and the way they interact with other ethnic groups.
Another attribute that leads to racial discrimination is the way that people find means to justify their actions by degrading the actions of others. For instance, during the Vietnam War, American soldiers assumed that civilians of small villages were aiding the Vietcong. Based on presumption, the soldiers felt justified to torture the villagers and destroy their homes. “If we are able to convince ourselves that another group is inferior, immoral, or dangerous, then we can feel justified in discriminating against them, enslaving them, or even killing them”. The American soldiers deemed the torturing of the village people reasonable by convincing themselves that it would help destroy the Vietcong. Self-justification is...