Essay on Prejudice December 6, 2006Posted by sdpurtill in Uncategorized.
This is my December essay that I had to write for school. I liked the topic, so I decided to post it.
We will never be able to measure the full effects of prejudice: I think it affects everyone, even if it occurs at a subconscious level. I will be the first to admit that I am prejudice: I judge people daily by how they dress, talk, and look. Prejudice has a heavy psychological impact on the ones to whom it is directed at; it shows the ignorance of the person displaying the prejudice; and yes, I believe prejudice can be lessened, but I it will never be eliminated.
First off, I would like to quote Ayn Rand on racism: “[Racism] is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s lineage – the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.” She hits the nail right on the head here – there is no reason for us to judge people based on their looks, they didn’t get to choose to whom they were born. Yet so many times I find myself doing this; everyone does, even if they don’t admit it. Prejudice can have a wide range of implications on the person to whom it is directed at. I believe that lots of times we don’t see these effects immediately, but they show up later on in the person’s life. An example of this would be a black person who grows up in an all white community. Throughout his life, he is made fun of because he acts “white” (i.e., he tries hard in school, gets good grades, is smart). This kid could always feel alone, because his black friends disown him for acting white, and his white friends are subconsciously prejudice against him simply because he is black. This is a tough situation, and is extremely true in the lives of a lot of kids (especially in inner-cities). Not to pick on black people or anything, but I heard a report some time ago that only 2% of black kids make it out of the “hood”. It is extremely hard for them to overcome everyone making fun of them because they don’t conform to being a “gangster”. You can see this at Buckingham; the majority of black kids are caught up in the whole hip-hop culture. When one of them decides that they want to be something after high school, they immediately get made fun of for being “white”. I kind of hit a rabbit trail there, but you can understand: it is very hard for certain ethnic groups to overcome.
The person displaying the prejudice shows the ignorance of that person. Most kids get their prejudice roots from their parents at a very young age; it can come from a ton of different situations where the parent makes a comment, joke, etc, about a certain group. It also can come from the environment, in which the child grows up, and different situations that the child is involved in or witnesses. That being said, it is not an excuse for the person to be racist against the entire group, be it ethnic, social, or any other grouping. Ayn Rand says: “A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race – and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.” I strongly agree with this statement: we must judge only on a person’s productive ability. This is hard to do, but when it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is a person’s ability and how well he can work. So, when someone judges another according to the group that they are associated with, this is completely erroneous, and it shows that the judger is basing his evaluation of that person off a general consensus. This is basing your judgment off of a collective: there is no such thing as a “collective”, there are only individuals: we should take this into account every time we are tempted to make an assumption.
We live in a semifree capitalist society today. As stated in the Constitution, every American has these rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is a huge philosophical discussion that I could go into about that statement alone, but I will refrain. Those rights are all that we need as free citizens in a government that has limitations (the Bill of Rights). There are a few things that could be done to lessen prejudice in America today. One of the first things I would suggest we do is to teach all the youth to never judge someone based on the group they are associated with, but to only judge them based on their productive ability. This would have a domino effect: kids will push each other in school from a very young age (which is the most important time) to work to their highest ability. This would, in turn, generate smarter kids from the educational system: kids that try. Since we live in a capitalist society, everybody relatively has the same chance – when going to a job, you are hired on your ability. If the education system was graduating the majority of kids that were extremely smart, this would raise the competition to get a job. This would mean that jobs suddenly become harder to get, and only the highly qualified would be getting all the jobs. Once every industry is saturated with geniuses, America’s production and economy will go straight to the top. We will propel higher than any civilization in history (we already have, back in the 1950’s). This could all happen if each individual taught their children that they need not judge on skin color, clothes, or social status, but judge on productive ability.
In conclusion, there is no way that prejudice will ever be abolished in any society; it is futile to even try. As you can see from the previous paragraphs: prejudice has a dramatic impact on a person’s complex; prejudice only shows the ignorance of the one who is displaying it; and prejudice can be lessened, but will never be absolutely destroyed. I rest my case.