All People Are Different. A Prejudice Essay Example

Every person on earth has a different mindset. A person’s emotional and physical actions are dependent on his or her mindset. Everyone has either a positive, negative, or neutral demeanor. Depending on the type of mind they have, will show whether a person is prejudice or not. Prejudice is “the act of individual-level attitude toward groups and their members that creates or maintains hierarchical status relations between groups” (Dovidio et al. 1), also known as discrimination. Prejudice plays a large role in today’s society. People will discriminate against anyone depending on their race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, color, and other factors. There are plenty of reasons that cause people to act prejudice. The two most explained reasons are emotional and physical behaviors. Psychologists’ believe that emotional prejudices of pity, envy, disgust and pride may activate distinct parts of the brain (Chamberlin 1) which can lead to prejudice situations. Negative emotions on the brain can take over self-control and cause someone to lash out on an innocent individual. Prejudice behaviors can also be a cause of discrimination. It is believed that prejudice exists through inferior and superior thoughts since people maintain their self-esteem in part by identifying with groups and believing that the group they belong to are better than other groups (Plous 6), which revolves heavily around someone’s behavior. If a person acts as if they are a higher person, they will most likely discriminate. However, emotions and behavior all tie into a person’s persona. Their persona consists of their self-esteem, emotions, and behaviors. A person’s character as a whole is determined by their mindset, which is the strongest factor that decides whether someone is prejudice. Prejudice is nothing but a choice of the mind. Some decide to show their discrimination and have no shame in it, while others remain quiet about it and stay peaceful.

A person’s self-esteem plays a role in a person’s mindset. If a person is uncomfortable with themselves, they are more likely to show impolite behavior. Psychologists have proven that when people experience a drop in self-esteem, they become more likely to express prejudice (Plous 6), which is a well-known fact since those who do not appreciate themselves are prone to be hostile. To prove how self-esteem takes part in discrimination, an experiment was conducted. A group of people either received a drop or rise in their self-esteem and were asked to describe an Italian and Jewish person. Those who received negative feedback showed a rebound in self-esteem after devaluing the candidate; that is, by putting down the candidate, they increased their self-esteem (Plous 1), which shows that those who have a poor image of themselves are more likely to act prejudice to receive an ego boost. A person’s self-esteem revolves on how they see themselves as a whole. If they see their persona in a negative way, they will exhibit negative behaviors. Someone could be insecure about the paleness of their skin and will act hostile to those who are tanned, or a person could wish that their hair was a different texture and discriminate against others will ethnic hair. Kenneth Dion, a psychologist, stated that “members of minority or subordinate groups often find themselves in an attributional dilemma or ambiguity as to whether a negative experience they have encountered” (Dion 2), which shows how a person is more likely to exhibit the same pessimistic encounters they previously faced. A person could of had a bad encounter with a woman, which will make a person be hostile to other women. During a prejudice situation, a person can reflect their own failings or other personal characteristics which can affect their self-evaluations (Dion 2), which is why a person exhibits negative behaviors. A person who has taken a jab to their ego will begin to see a negative image of themselves. Once a person begins to develop a bad feeling about their self, they will start to display hostile behaviors to make their ego rise. The acts of prejudice come from the insecurities that they are facing. When it comes to self-esteem, prejudice is a psychological function that enhances self-esteem (Dovidio et al. 6), which explains why people discriminate against people. The self-image a person has of themselves is a big factor in showing if they are prone to be prejudice or not. A person with a low self-esteem will have a dispirited mindset and will be more likely to act prejudice than those who have a high self-esteem.

Emotional behaviors have an important part in a person’s mindset as well. The way a person handles things physically and mentally is affected by their emotions. Emotions are responses to cognitive appraisals (Tapias 28), therefore, emotions play a very important role in how a person acts. There are numerous categories of emotions that can have an impact on someone’s mindset. Pity, pride, envy, and disgust have the most effect when it comes to emotions (Chamberlin 1) and since these emotions are considered negative, a person will display negative actions. The emotions a person feels all depends on the situation. An experiment showed that prejudice people felt more anger when they were faced with African Americans, and they felt more disgust towards homosexual males (Tapias 35) which shows that it depends mainly on the situation. The way a person feels relies heavily on what is currently happening. A person might feel angry towards an African Americans due to a past event that made them feel bad and a person might feel disgusted towards homosexuals since it could be against their religion or unfamiliar to them. Someone could feel prideful when confronting someone that is a different gender since they believe their own gender is superior. Others could feel fearful of people with a different skin tone due to a past experience. Emotions are a way to perceive people or events (Tapias 28) which means that everyone will respond to the environment differently. With that being said, everyone reacts differently to change or differences. A person might act hostile to a Muslim person walking by, while another person might be friendly to them. Psychologists explain that emotional prejudices activate distinct parts of the brain (Chamberlin 1) which can cause someone to respond in a pitiful, disgusted, envious, or prideful way. Since everyone’s emotions are different, people will behave in a different manner. Despite people displaying different behaviors, everyone’s emotions affect their actions. People’s emotions are tied into their self-esteem, which leads back to their persona and mindset. A person who feels negative emotions will have a bleak mindset and is more likely to be prejudice than those who feel positive emotions.

The behaviors a person exhibits can show the persona of a person. Behaviors are controlled by many concepts, but the main concept is personality. Personalities can range from optimistic to pessimistic. A person’s behavior is very dependent on their personality type. Optimistic personalities tend to show a high self-esteem, a cheerful attitude, and tend to have positive aspects of a situation (Hecht 1), therefore, optimists are less likely to show judgemental behavior. People who have an optimistic personality are most likely to show accept of people that are in a different racial group or in a different culture. For an example, a person with an optimistic personality is most likely going to accept a person’s choice in sexuality. Since the emotional traits related to their cheerful personality is buried in their mindset, they will generally be friendlier towards homosexuals and not act homophobic. Pessimistic personalities tend to show gloomy aspects, a low self-esteem, and give negative inputs (Hetcht 1), due to this, pessimists are more likely to display prejudice behaviors. People who have pessimistic personalities are most likely going to be hostile or uncomfortable around people of different sexual orientation or gender. As an example, a person with a pessimistic personality is most likely going to act homophobic to a homosexual. This is because of the depressing emotions in their mindset that are related to their personality type. People with optimistic personalities are known to be much friendlier towards others of different groups than those who are pessimistic. Pessimists are generally more watchful and fearful (Hetcht 1) than optimists. Pessimistic people tend to be dreadful thinkers, all they see is the reality and sadness in life. This could explain why a person would be startled and act hostile towards someone who is from a different country. The fear inside their mind takes control of their behavior and causes them to act out. A person who is optimistic does not have a mind clouded with fear. An optimist has a relaxed state of mind (Hetcht 1) and sees the good in everything in almost any situation. A person who is optimistic might feel welcoming to a person from a different country and will show friendly behaviors. With that said, personality takes part during prejudice situations. People who have pessimistic personality traits will experience stressful or fearful emotions, while people who have optimistic personality traits will exhibit peaceful and carefree emotions. Personality is a key concept in a person’s mindset. Personality is affected by emotions and self-esteem. A person with a pessimistic personality is prone to act prejudice while a person with an optimistic personality is more likely to be accepting.

When there is prejudice, there is a victim. Everyday people face discrimination against their skin color, their culture, their sexual orientation, their race, their gender, and just about anything. There are different emotions that victims of discrimination can feel. Some people feel belittled, some feel angry, and some do not show any emotion. Most victims will feel ill health, a rise in blood pressure, and a lower psychological well-being (Plous 14) since discrimination is meant to lower the target’s self-image. The main purpose of acting prejudice is to belittle a person so they feel inferior. Juhel Miah, a victim of racial discrimination, opened up about how he felt when he was removed off an airplane because he was Muslim. Miah explained, “I was so paranoid, I was scared, I didn’t eat for two days” (Morris 1) after he told the story on how he was locked in a dirty hotel room with no working lights. A spokesperson who was telling Miah’s story added on that Miah felt belittled and upset about the unjustified discrimination (Morris 1) that he had to experience at the airport while he was on a school trip. Prejudice usually leads to people feeling dismayed since usually the behavior is unexpected and uncalled for. Another man named Daniel Mendelsohn explains how he feels about homosexuality. He explained in his personal newsletter that, “gay is still a process of fraught and anxiety, if not terror and violence” (Mendelsohn 1) since homosexuality is still not accepted by everyone. Mendelsohn is a homosexual man himself, so he explains how it feels to be gay in today’s world. A lot of people are too afraid to be open about themselves due to the discrimination they will most likely face. Negativity runs wild throughout the minds of people that are a different race, gender, etc. since they are well aware of the discrimination that they are liable to encounter. Prejudice is an awful thing that runs in society. People live cautiously since they not want to run into degrading encounters. Not only does discrimination make victims experience negative effects on their health, but it also clouds their mind with fear and insecurity.

If a victim of prejudice feels uneasiness and anxiousness, then how does the victimizer feel? The victimizer already feels unsatisfactory about their self-image which is why they act prejudice to begin with. The victimizer will take their opportunity to buffer their own self-esteem (Dion 8), which will encourage them to discriminate against more people. Since the person feels a temporary wave of cloud nine, they will think it is fine to act stereotypical to other groups. A stereotype is an over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people (McLeod 1) that people use to classify others. People who use good stereotypes can say that all African American men are good at basketball. People who use bad stereotypes can say that all African American men like to steal. When people are prejudice, they begin to use unnecessary stereotypes against others. Being stereotypical can make a person feel protection and success within their own group (McLeod 1), which can explain why people feel superior. A person can use stereotypes to belittle someone and make them feel bad about being part of their group. For an example, an employer can hire a light-skinned person over a dark-skinned person because the light-skinned person is less likely to steal. By that action, the dark-skinned person could begin to feel upset about being the ethnicity they were born as. Another example of this could be that a woman is denied working as a mechanic because that is a man’s job and women are supposed to be at the house caring for their husband. The woman would feel belittled and inferior to the man who refused to hire her simply because she is a woman. Situations like these leave the victimizer feel superior. They will believe their own group is higher above and will believe they are powerful (Abrams 16) which is why they will bring stereotypes into the situation to make the target feel inferior. Once the victimizer knows they have upset their target, they will feel a temporary sense of sovereignty. They will use prejudice stereotypes to make them feel like their own group is higher above the victim’s. Those actions will make them believe they have a right to behavior in such a discriminative behavior and they will show the same attitudes to other groups. Overall, the victimizer feels insecure and reviled about their self-image. So, they degrade others to give themselves a sense of temporary comfort when deep down in their mind, they are unhappy with themselves.

Prejudice plays quite a large part in today’s society. Trying to eliminate discrimination from the world will take an extreme amount of effort and time. Prejudice is nothing but a psychological choice. Some people are generally more prejudice than others (Abrams 89) since everyone has a different mindset. Discrimination is solely based on a person’s emotions, personality, and self-esteem. When a person has a low self-esteem, they will act more hostile towards others of different groups. A person who feels insecure about the color of their skin are very likely to act prejudice towards people with a different skin color. A person is also more likely to be discriminative against different groups when they are pessimistic. Someone who is pessimistic could exhibit hostile behaviors towards someone of a different race. A final factor of prejudice behavior is a person’s emotional state. Someone is liable to act prejudice against a homosexual couple since it could trigger emotions related to disgust or disconcert. Self-esteem, personality, and emotions are the universal psychological processes of prejudice (Okazaki 1), which all lead to a person’s mindset. Everyone has prejudice thoughts in their mind. Some people decide to show their discriminative behavior while others remain quiet. Prejudice is a way to show a person’s understanding of other groups. A person who believes all Muslims want to blow up airplanes shows that they have little understanding for Muslims. A person who believes that women are only meant to serve as wives and depend on a man have little understanding for women. It all goes to their mindset. As Harper Lee once wrote in To Kill A Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view..until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30), which talks about how people make accusations about something without knowing any information. Prejudice is just harassing comments about different groups that the victimizer knows very little about. The only way they would know is if they were in the target’s life. Lee said once in her book “Remember it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird” (Lee 93) because mocking birds are classified as simple and peaceful creatures who cause no harm. People of different groups can be compared to mocking birds who do nothing but live in the world peacefully. Not all Muslims want to blow up planes, not all African Americans steal, not all Mexicans are drug dealers, not all homosexuals are sinful beings, not all women are meant to be house wives, and not all Caucasians are racist. Not everyone fits into the stereotype they are assigned. Prejudice is a psychological act of the mind that puts people into those such categories. Okazaki states, “We can learn to live and work together harmoniously, or we can divide along racial / cultural lines and engage in cultural wars. The choice is ours” (Okazaki 1), which shows that prejudice is nothing but a choice of the mind. People are in control on whether discrimination will remain in society.


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