Prejudice Attitude, Essay Example

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Essay

An example of a prejudiced attitude in all its manifestations is one drawn from witnessing a series of interactions.  A Southern businessman was dealing with a New York client of a Jewish background.  In the course of the interaction, the Southerner covertly expressed prejudice that was based on the cognitive conviction, likely instilled from family and friends, that Jewish people are invariably mercenary.  This in turn translated to the affective component of mistrust, as linked to the emotional base of dislike.  The Southerner’s behavior was then consistently reserved, uneasy, and generally suspicious, as he regarded the other party as a threat, an inferior person, and one requiring watchfulness at all times.  What is then evident is the exponential relationship of all the components; the mistrustful attitude, for example, fuels the cognitive basis of itself.

While prejudice may take positive forms, in that the bias goes to a favorable perception, it is more typically negative in nature (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2010,  p. 391).  This is, of course, well known. What is equally true, however, and equally disturbing, is that these processes of prejudice make sense.  In plain terms, each component validates the other, and the prejudice exists in a kind of arena of reasoning all its own.  The emotion is based on rationale, and the inadequacy of the rationale does not lessen its impact in promoting the emotion or behavior.  What makes sense as well, then, is that human effort is necessary to counter these mechanisms so readily enabling prejudice.  Most importantly, the cognitive factors which act as the foundations of the other components must be more deeply assessed, if such cycles of biased thinking, feeling, and behavior are to be addressed.

References

Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Akert, R. M. (2010). Social Psychology (7th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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