What is prejudice?
Prejudice can be defined as a belief, an attitude with regards to how people view others. Derived from the Latin word ‘pre-judicare’, meaning “pre-judge”, a prejudice means to hold an opinion about someone without having any evidence to justify it. More often than not, there is evidence that a person’s prejudice is unjustified. Although discrimination and prejudice often go hand in hand, there is a difference between the two. Prejudice is just the negative view of others, whereas discrimination is putting prejudice into action. An example of prejudice would be that of trivial racist remarks whilst an example of discrimination would be the implementation of the caste system in India. This question assumes that prejudice is prevalent in this world, and that this problem needs to be solved. In this essay I shall attempt to examine the various prejudices against people groups and offer some possible solutions.
One major form of prejudice would be that pertaining to race. Even though all humans are part of the same species, races are distinguished from each other through the differentiating features of hair, eye and skin colour. One example would be the prejudice against African-Americans in the United States of America, due the obvious skin colour difference between them and the Caucasian majority. These prejudices led to discrimination against the blacks, as seen from the preferential treatment of whites and segregation of whites from blacks throughout the 1900s. In return, the black community retaliated with marches, riots and protests. The Civil Rights movement initiated by Dr Martin Luther King, culminated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. The Los Angeles Riots of 1992 was also sparked off by the acquittal of four police officers accused in the videotape beating of Rodney King, an African-American motorist. In all, 53 people died during the riots and thousands more were injured. Property damages were approximated to be US$1 billion. Prejudice can be deadly and expensive. It is thus imperative that we stop racial prejudice.
What does it take to solve the problem of racial prejudice? In my opinion, racial prejudice arises from a lack of understanding between two different people groups, as well as selfishness. To solve this problem, the two people groups have to learn to interact with one another. In the process, they will learn to understand and acknowledge each others’ differences. In the case of the United States, the whites need to recognise that African-Americans’ are a part of their society and that nothing is going to change the fact. They must be willing to accept African-Americans’ as part of their society, and work together for a better tomorrow. This can be done by enforcing racial ratios in classrooms. In this way, from young, we will learn how to be tolerant of other races.