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Prejudice In The School Systems And How To Fix It

1584 words - 7 pages

Today’s concerns about ethnic prejudice, taking place in the schools, are being brought to the forefront. In response to these concerns, two weeks of summer training is being considered as a requirement for all teachers and staff members. Some are under the impression that prejudice and hate are inevitable and therefore do not find the training necessary. What is being presented will address these concerns and show everyone that prejudice is prevalent with in the schools and can be reduced. There are effective methods that attempt to reduce this common issue.
Primary Issues
Prejudice is a negative evaluation, based on an individual’s group membership and the associated stereotypes (Crandall & Eshleman, 2003). Crandall & Eshleman suggest that prejudice is an affective state that is driven by a motivation (2003). “The basic argument of the inevitability of prejudice perspective is that as long as a stereotype exist, prejudice will follow” (Devine, 1989, pg6). Stereotypes and personal beliefs are completely independent cognitive structures, therefore influencing different behaviors toward individuals of other ethnicities or race (Devine, 1989). Exposure to stereotyping and prejudice, while transitioning through childhood and into later stages, is what causes the atomization of these attitudes (Devine, 1989).
Gordon Allport (1979) said that prejudice was based on faulty generalization towards a group or a member of the group (as cited in Sandhu & Brown, 1996, p.2). In Allport’s book he stated that there were different stages of prejudice. These stages included (1) expression of negative feelings, (2) avoidance of people we dislike, (3) discrimination, (4) violence and physical attack and (5) extermination (as cited in Sandhu & Brown, 1996, p.3).
Research Findings Shedding light on problem/issue
When is an individual likely to start forming such attitudes towards an out-group? “Young children are often perceived as being untainted by the negative social biases that characterize adults, but many studies reveal that stereotyping and prejudice exist by the age of 4 (Bigler, 2007, pg162)”. When a child is young, their cognitive abilities does not allow for individual opinions and attitudes, therefore they acquire and store attitudes that they see other people suggesting (Devine, 1989).
Research was conducted, involving younger children and adolescents, which explored atomization of prejudice activation (Degner, 2010). There were two studies that took place, focusing around the idea that automatic prejudice activation will differ across ages, if priming takes place (Degner, 2010). Findings suggested that children develop prejudices at young ages and attitudes become automatic by early adolescence (Degner, 2010).
Another study was done in 2012, suggesting that intergroup anxiety affected implicit negative attitudes towards individuals of another race (Amodio, 2012). It was hypothesized that implicit racial evaluations would increase when...

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