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Some Thoughts On Prejudice Essay

2121 words - 9 pages

Although African Americans make up no more than 30% of the total US population, they are accounted for 60% of those imprisoned! What is the reason behind this prodigious difference? The clear response is racism. Perhaps it’s because the police officers are racist and more suspicious towards African Americans, but then again, it could be because the African Americans commit more crime. Even if they do, it’s quite likely that this criminal attitude is roused when they are treated unfairly and discriminated against. However, racism is merely the action of setting up unjust inequalities in between people of diverse races. The internal feeling that provokes racism is prejudice. A negative thought that lurks within the mind, prejudice causes us to consider some as inferior to others. But why does prejudice exist in our world? What is the reasoning, if any, behind our inexplicable tendency to differentiate between others?

Some say prejudice is a component of human nature. Others believe we pick it up from our elders. Either proposal could be true, as there are various controversial beliefs about the nature of prejudice. One interesting theory is that prejudice is an emotional reaction, activated whenever we encounter unknown people, who possess unusual physical characteristics, uncommon personalities, and unfamiliar beliefs. In fact, these people frighten us, and we treat them differently to reassure ourselves that they cannot possibly matter to us. To better understand this, consider what happened when European explorers arrived at distant areas such as Africa and North America, and met the natives. In the first case, both sides went to war against each other, and millions of Africans were captured to be taken away as slaves. The exact same thing occurred in the second case. From this, we can take away that humans are rarely able to interact positively with people who differ from them, thus concluding that one of the instant emotional reactions triggered from such encounters is prejudice. Another origin of prejudice is negative education, either direct or indirect. An example of the direct type would be that you are deliberately taught to avoid certain people who are discriminated against in today’s society, while an example of the opposite would be that you see your elders attempting to avoid these people, and you learn from them. This kind of negative education stimulates the prejudicial thoughts within our mind, causing us to differentiate between others. Furthermore, it can also provoke our dislikes, and cause us to develop hatred towards a particular type of people. To realize this, think about Adolf Hitler, the notorious German Nazi leader who caused the deaths of an estimated 17 million people during World War II, of which six million were Jews massacred in what we call the Holocaust. This man believed that the Jews were responsible for the problems Germany had faced, such as the loss of World War I and the economic...

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