Prejudice as a negative manifestations of integrative power
Prejudice is making pre-judgment or forming an opinion about some matter which is not thoroughly or critically studied.
This is usually expanded and solid stereotypical attitude which is based on unproven allegations and false authorities towards other religion members, ethnic groups, nations, etc., but also on different customs and habits. This type of forming an opinion is exact opposite of post-reasoning. Prejudice, as an object of study at psychology colleges, is defined as an attitude that makes one person prone to think, feel, perceive and act in ways favorable or unfavorable to any group or individual members of the group.
Object of prejudice were, and still are, religion, race, ethnic minorities, gender, mental and physical disabilities, etc. There are many press reports about widely spread cases of persons or groups being abused by other person or group of people. The history of mankind is full of horrific and terrifying events of mass slaughter that occurred as a result of prejudice, and what depresses most is probably the fact that prejudice is an unchanging trait of our civilized society and is likely to remain so.
The foundation of this educational subject as a part of learning psychology program is the assumption that prejudice cannot be justified, simply because there is neither logical nor scientific basis when categorizing one person or group of people as either inferior or superior to another person or group of people.
Prejudice can make a person prone to behave either in favorable or unfavorable way, since it can show a preference to himself and/or his group or it can be used as an attempt to undermine other group. Behavior that rises from biased judgments can take various forms which result in different types of unfair treatments.
In the broadest sense, prejudices are claims which are closely associated with the confidence in their truthfulness – even if these claims are not supported by any facts or are based on arguments, but were accepted without checking their accuracy and without thinking about it:
- Prejudice is a judgment that is made without prior understanding.
- Prejudice is having a negative attitude or set of attitudes toward all or the majority members of any group.
According to many psychologists supporting the real conflicts theory, prejudices are inevitable side effect of the real conflicts between groups over scarce resources, including economic goods, power or status. The competition for resources leads to humiliation and discrimination of the competitive external groups.