Causes of Prejudice by Vincent Parrillo
In his article titled “Causes of Prejudice” Vincent Parillo explored various sociological and psychological theories that seek to explain the motives behind prejudiced behavior. In this article, the author outline that prejudice is an attitude that can either be positive or negative. He goes on to explain that the negative aspect of prejudice is the most focus of many studies because it is where the problem lies. The psychological factors include personality, self-justification, and frustration. On the other hand, the sociological factors for prejudice include economic competition, socialization, and social norms. This paper explores the problems that persist today that can be linked to the ideologies presented in Parrillo’s essay.
Frustration in society is one of the causes of prejudice today. Parrillo reveals that one of the major sources of prejudice is frustration. Indeed, some of the world’s major conflicts are attributed to social frustrations and most of the frustrations are brought about by harsh economic conditions. In most cases, when a society is frustrated, it takes out its frustration on the minority groups in its midst by blaming for their misfortunes often leading to cases of racism and ethnicity. As Parrillo explains, “if we might persuade ourselves that an additional group is inferior, dangerous or morally wrong, we might feel justified in discriminating them, enchanting them and even killing them” (Parrillo 507). The ever-limited resources in the environment have led to a situation where the majority groups have become hostile to minorities especially the immigrants in the US. The society is so frustrated with the limited resources in its midst that after promising to deport the illegal immigrants, the current president garnered support from traditionally hostile regions in the just concluded elections.
Economic competition is another problem that persists today that can be linked to prejudice today in society. In his essay “Causes of Prejudice”, Parrillo outlines that economic competition is a serious sociological factor that leads to prejudice today. Parrillo explains that “when there is a turndown in the availability of jobs, chauvinism, unenthusiastic stereotyping and discrimination arise” (Parrillo, 507) Having no job leads to a sense of threatening of someone’s safety and without this safety, people tend to be unfriendly and aggressive. It is no wonder that when there is a massive problem with unemployment, people suddenly find their differences and decides to take aggressive measures to purge their economic competitors. A case in point is the economic competition in South Africa that periodically leads to xenophobic attacks. While the attacks initially started with a target on the rich white settlers in South Africa, now the attackers have gone a step further and now target other Africans from the neighboring countries.
Vincent Parrillo deeply explored various problems that face society today. He differentiates the causes of the prejudice that is present in the world today into sociological and psychological theories as he seeks to explain the reasons behind prejudiced behavior. To do that, the author starts off by explaining that prejudice is an attitude that can either be positive or negative and subscribed to by a significant group in society. He goes on to explain that negative prejudice is the focus of many studies because it is the origin of many social problems and conflicts that the world is witnessing today. This paper has explored the problems of frustration and economic competition as two significant problems that persist today as they are linked to the ideologies that Parrillo presents in his essay.
Parrillo, Vincent N. Encyclopedia of Social Problems. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, 2008. Print.