Hello and welcome to SamChrissy’s blog.
I am Sameena (the Sam end of this blog!). I am an Indian national, now living in Blackburn, UK for the past 13 years. And still not used to British weather! My first brush with stereotyping came via the media and biased conversations with friends, family and my immediate community.
I am Christine (Chrissy). I am English/ British, born and bred and still getting used to our weather! My first contact with a non-English person was at school in 1965/66 with a South African girl, who I had taken under my wing at my headmaster’s request. My other school friends would not accept her because of her colour.
Sam – The reason for my stereotypical behaviour was not having any exposure to the outside world; “living in my own cocoon” Also taking on beliefs of friends and family, especially close family members, who had never stepped out of the “said pond”, but definitely had strong opinions/ views about it. This then became my initial layer of stereotype.
All this was further enhanced by the media…which only served to fire our biases, which included but were not restricted to:
All white people are intoxicated/ tipsy
White people do not marry or their marriages do not last long enough
White people are rich!!!
What is a stereotype?
It is a simplified assumption about a group on prior assumptions.
Chrissy – Prejudices in my life came in during my school years. I took a South African girl under my wing, on the request of my headmaster. This caused problems with my “white” class peers. They would not accept her or talk to me because of her skin colour.
So, What is Prejudice?
Prejudice is an incorrect or unjustified attitude which is usually negative towards a sole individual based on their social group (Mc.Leod, S.A. 2008).
Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotype beliefs and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgement (usually negative) about members of a group.
Types of prejudice include but are not restricted to:
When prejudice occurs, stereotyping and discrimination may also result. In many cases prejudices are based upon stereotypes.
According to psychologist, Gordon Allport, (1954), prejudice and stereotype emerge in part as a result of normal human thinking. In order to make sense of the world around is it is important to sort information into mental categories.
ARABS IN THE DESERT
During the Super Bowl 2013 (see clip below), a coca cola advert, Arabs were portrayed quite stereotypically as riding on camels whilst other cultural groups had more modern means of transport.
“Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists or belly dancers?” This question was asked by Warren David, president of the American- Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee during a Reuters interview about this commercial.
Sam – Most of these prejudices come down to our ignorance and mine shattered like glass when I moved to the UK after my marriage. My steadfastly held notions were broken down when I experienced first-hand that all my precious prejudices were so wrong!
The literal meaning for prejudice is prejudgement. (Huffman, 2002)
Prejudice and discrimination are often overlap each other in conversations and people’s understanding, but in reality they are two different from each other. Prejudice is an attitude, and discrimination is a behaviour, making it the worse of the two (Fiske, 1998), in (Huffman 2002)
Stereotyping can often lead to prejudice. And prejudice combined with our irrational fear can very often lead to discrimination, as the following video shows.
Ways to reduce prejudice:
In addition to looking at the reason why prejudice occurs researchers have explored different ways prejudice can be reduced, even eliminated.
- Train to be more empathic to other groups
- Passing laws and regulations that require fair and equal treatment for all groups of people.
- To gain public support and awareness for anti- prejudice social norms
- Making people aware of the inconsistencies in their own beliefs
- Increased contact with members of other social groups.
Underneath our skin colour, we are all the same!
We hate being the centre of anyone’s prejudice. Why then, can we not afford them the same respect and understanding?
Allport, G. W.(1954). The nature of prejudice. Redding, MA: Addison- Wesley.
McLeod, S.A. (2008). Prejudice and Discrimination. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/prejudice.html. Visited 03/12/2015.
Huffman,K.(2002). Psychology in Action (6th Edition). America: Hermitage Publishing Services.