Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice refers to an attitude of bias where individuals in a group or community have selective relations or favors while sidelining those who are not in their preferences. It is therefore an act of discrimination in the society. Individuals depict negative prejudgments and presumptions based on stereotypical grounds. According to Ore (2006), prejudice cuts across nationality, race, gender, social class and age. In these forms, it is manipulated in all parts of the world. The society continues to transform and prejudice is subject to consequent changes as the behavior human beings posses at least an aspect of prejudice even in silence.
In the United States, it began decades ago when immigrants who came to search for jobs in the era of the industrial revolution were treated poorly and harshly. They were less preferred and the American natives went further to lobby for regulations in immigrants’ employment so that they could be favored. The black people from Africa who were based in America were purely regarded as slaves and they received harsh treatments through oppression, violation and violence. In a bid to liberate themselves, the blacks launched wars.
The end of the Civil War marked a new beginning for the slaves since they could then enjoy their independence and rightfully attain what was theirs. However, there is still a degree of discrimination against the blacks when it comes to ascertained opportunities such as jobs or leadership. In the essay, “The Affirmative Action Debate, Stephen Steinberg explains, “as late as the 1960, even the civil right movement reached its triumphant climax, the United States had, in effect, a system of occupational apartheid that excluded blacks from the entire job sectors. Most black men worked as unskilled laborers; most black women as low-level service workers, especially domestics,” (p345). This is a clear indication that the blacks faced discrimination pressures and hurdles in their bid to earn a living. Findings from the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission showed a higher unemployment rate for blacks than whites. In as much as government, regulations have attempted to counter prejudice in the America, there still discrimination from backdoors.
In neighborhoods, some proprietors and residents are also choosy when it comes to new residents because they already have pre-conceived ideas about them. That is why you will find a acting negatively towards a Chinese or a German resident. In most cases, they prefer to do without people from a different race. In turn, these foreigners find it difficult to establish themselves in such environments. With the presumptions dwelling in the minds of racists negative judgments are made on different races based on the stereotypic beliefs instilled. In the essay, “Have We Lost Our Sense of Humor?” Kreyche elaborates, “everyone is one edge today, ready to charge bias, a lack of respect, or harassment of some imagined type or another” (P351).
Sexism/ Gender Discrimination
Sexism refers to the practices by which both sides of gender are assigned roles in the society. On the other hand, sex or gender discrimination refers to the prejudice present in the assigning of such roles (Ore, 2006). The American society was faced with biasness gender representation but as modernization has encroached, gender discrimination is slowly diminishing. However, that does not give us a license to claim that it is not being practiced. Presumptions by male counterparts are that women cannot perform better than they can and they claim that most of the women outputs are substandard.
Gender discrimination is in many parts of the world such as Africa and Asia. In most African states, the role of the women in society was placed in household chores and their submission to men was mandatory even if they were the right ones. Modernization is slowly outfacing the stereotype with the presence of female presidents and activists in the region. However, employment opportunities are still not vivid to some simply because of their gender. Asian countries since time immemorial have also dwelled in the traditional idea of women being subjects to the men. Therefore, men took advantage of this and oppressed the women in the society.
Academically successful Japanese and Korean women gave up on further pursuit of knowledge to become mere homemakers. In the Asian countries, in case of employment, women receive meager salaries as compared to men making inequality quite protracted. Revealing an aspect of sexism, Mary Crow Dog exhibit the difficulties women face in their lives in her essay, “A woman from He-Dog.” Women are still undermined despite the call for modernization. Job promotions for women are rare to find and if they are there, they are marked as incredible achievements. Some businesses often prefer men for management roles with little female participation in the board of directors and this result to gender bias.
In the United States, Hillary Clinton staged her confidence in her presidential campaign considering the fact that if she won, she would have been the first American female president. We can take a perspective of her failure to be that probably Americans were not ready for a female president, though that is just an assumption. Why would people be reluctant to have a female leader? A tentative answer could be that they have preconceived ideas of the ability of a woman to execute leadership.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Sexual orientation refers to the definition of an individual based on relationships with another person in the society. Therefore, in this category we have homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals. Homosexuals are men or women in same-sex unions. For decades in America, homosexuals have been looked down upon because they were perceived to be mentally disturbed. However, various affirmations by psychologists proved that they are just as sane as heterosexuals are. Only when people understand the concepts of psychology that lead to the sexual orientation of a person that they will try and accept the homosexuals in the society.
With the stereotypic ideology that they are mentally disturbed, they missed many opportunities. It is unfortunate that up to date, there still communities who cannot fathom the idea of gay people in the communities. This is also evident in some of the schools where bisexuals and homosexuals are completely sidelined and denied the chance to participate in most beneficial activities. However, the activists for gay rights have proven to be successful with the president of the United States, Barrack Obama endorsing the bill of gay rights in the previous month. This has garnered the homosexuals an automatic right to recruitment, benefits and remuneration in their jobs, employment status and promotion opportunities. However, the endorsement of such rights in the American constitution raised eyebrows from different parts of the world with the element of religion included. Most people in the society have been nurtured to believe that marriage unions should only happen in heterosexual relationships for the sake of procreation and morality. With this mentality, gay people only had a few friend s and some could still be in search of friends.
Discrimination by Social Class
The society is divided into three classes namely, the rich and mighty, the middle-class and the poor. Due to the difference in the socioeconomic status, there is a tendency of friction and disregard among the three classes. People from less privileged backgrounds are not associated with opportunities that might elevate them. Instead, the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen because only those fro the high class continue to be empowered. Social class discrimination is interwoven among the other types of discrimination in the society. Positively, the government has attempted to fight it so that every citizen can be equally identified in the social circle. The less privileged youth drop out of universities because they encounter financial and cultural barriers in their pursuit for knowledge. In their group discussions in class or in other institutional activities, they are undermined or further yet denied the chance to show their skills or talents.
When all is said and done, people should try to coexist in their particular societies. Prejudice in any or all of the above mentioned should be reduced to promote human appreciation and understanding. Measures that should be followed to minimize it are increase of social interactions among people, building of self-esteem, cooperation strategies in times of conflict and finally, the government should ensure that laws against discrimination are vehemently enforced. When people mingle with a variety of others, they will learn to appreciate diverse cultures and beliefs and maintain respectable boundaries. Knowing oneself eliminates pride allows one have a welcoming personality towards different people. When people socialize, they develop understanding for one another and can strategize clear ways to end conflict. For people to receive a wake up call, the law must tame them to do what is morally right in the society.
Ackley, Katherine A. Essays from Contemporary Culture. Ft.Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992. Print.
Ore, Tracy E. The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
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