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Prejudice vs discrimination - Essay Example

There are numerous theories that can be used to explain the nature of prejudice and why it leads to discrimination. Authoritarian personality theory This theory was proposed by Adorno et al. (1950) and asserts that authoritative personality is prone to prejudice (Brown, 2010). The theory utilized the F-scale and concluded that certain personality traits make the individual highly sensitive to totalitarian ideas therefore leading to prejudices. The theory also relied on case study of the Nazis and psychometric testing (F-scale) together with clinical interviews that revealed that social environment of the child influences the development of authoritative personality (Brown, 2010). According to the theory, authoritative personality tends to be harsh towards the inferior status and uphold the traditional values. Accordingly, such individuals with high F-scale exhibit rigidity in their beliefs and opinions (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). Very strict upbringing will lead to development of personality traits such as preoccupation with power and obsession with status. The authoritarians have experienced a harsh upbringing thus tend to displace their emotional feelings on the minorities through prejudices (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). Realistic group conflict Realistic Group conflict theory (RGC) asserts that prejudices arise due to competition for limited resources among the groups in society (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). The inter-group hostilities arise due to the conflicts in competition and differing goals thus leading to feelings of hostility and prejudice towards the members of the other group. The theory was validated by Carolyn and Muzafer Sherif (1954) through the ‘Robber’s cave experiment’ (Brown, 2010). Muzaref Sherif demonstrated the principles of realistic group conflict through a series of studies on intergroup conflicts at Robbers Cave State park (Brown, 2010). The research studies entailed boys aged 11-12 years who were put in the Park as part of their summer camp. The boys initially showed not signs of emotional problems and were selected from similar socioeconomic background. The boys were then assigned in to two groups that comprised similarities in athletic skills and physical strength. The two groups were provided with adequate time for members to know each other and leaders to emerge within the group in order to ensure group cohesion (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). After some time, the researchers introduced competition between the two groups through implementing several sports such as baseball and football and prize rewards would be awarded to the winning group (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). The two groups engaged in name calling, verbal insults and ultimately physical aggression thus forcing the researchers to separate the groups (Brown, 2010). Sherif concluded that group members would display aggression and derogation towards the other group members thus concluding that existence of two groups competing for rewards, scarce resources and goals will lead to realistic conflicts and prejudices (Russell, Jarvis and Gorman, 2004). People within a group will dislike the members of the other groups since they view them as competitors for the scarce ...Show more
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Prejudice versus discrimination Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Prejudice versus discrimination Introduction Prejudice refers to irrational opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards members of a particular group (Brown, 2010). Prejudice also entails the pre-conceived judgment towards an individual that is based on gender, ethnicity, religion or any other identifiable personal trait of the individual (Brown, 2010)…
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