Gordon Allport : 5 Points of Prejudice and Discrimination - Term Paper Example

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Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones but Words ………. Prejudice and discrimination are ubiquitous in societies around the world, and have been so from the most ancient times to the most modern times. Prejudice refers to a judgment or attitude about a person or a group, which is based on perceived social, physical or cultural characteristics of the person or group (Sociologyindex)…
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Gordon Allport : 5 Points of Prejudice and Discrimination
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Download file to see previous pages Because Sociology is concerned with social interaction and the social norms and institutions which structure the functions of a society, sociologists are involved with understanding prejudice and discrimination. Social psychologists study attitudes and social behavior, and also the social construction of reality, so prejudice and discrimination are critical factors in these areas. Those sociologists who investigate social deviance try to understand how prejudice and discrimination can lead to collective behavior, such as riots, lynching, protests, etc. Those who focus their work on the sociology of religion investigate how religious experience can motivate or curtail prejudice and discrimination. These are just a few of the ways that prejudice and discrimination are pertinent to Sociology. Gordon Allport contributed a significant theory of prejudice and discrimination, discussed in his book, The Nature of Prejudice (Allport). He talks about prejudice as a hostile attitude, based on stereotyping, and blindness to the facts. Prejudice can, he says, gives people an unrealistic understanding of themselves by making them feel powerful or worthwhile when they treat others as less powerful or worthwhile or when they blame others unjustly (Allport) Allport presented a theory that negative prejudice and discrimination escalate, in violence, from words to genocide. The five stages of escalated violence are: 1. Spoken Abuse (which he calls Antilocution) 2. Avoidance 3. Discrimination or Legalized (Institutionalized) Racism 4. Violence Against People and Property 5. Extermination or Genocide (the systematic attempt to destroy an entire people) My aunt was visiting a friend in Washington State. After lunch, the friend took her to look at furniture in an unusual store that specializes in selling, at great discount, merchandise that has been acquired in lots from stores or warehouses that have been burned or flooded or gone out of business. Many of the items are unusual and some have suffered some degree of damage. It is a wonderful place to treasure hunt and look for bargains. My aunt’s friend left her at the store to run an errand, and my aunt was wandering the aisles alone, with her basket. She noticed a Muslim man and three heavily black-veiled women, perhaps his wives, also shopping. This was a year prior to 9/11. My aunt overheard a sarcastic comment about these shoppers and realized that in this industrial area of rural Washington, perhaps they seldom, if ever, had seen fully veiled Muslims. The comments had been insinuations about the sexual implications of a man with three wives. The man who had made this comment was expressing his prejudice, his hostile attitude, toward a family because of a stereotype and characteristics that identified them as belonging to a certain group, Muslim. He probably did not consider his comment to be an act of violence. He probably did not understand that this first step of violence could lead to additional steps of escalated violence. This fits into the first stage of escalating violence, Antilocution, in Gordon Allport’s five point theory of prejudice and discrimination. It may be that by targeting the Muslim family with a sarcastic comment, he raised a falsely inflated image of himself, identifying as more powerful than them because he belonged to the majority and not to the minority. It may be that he, an aging working ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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