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Prejudice and Discrimination: Negative Manifestations of Integrative Power

  • Date Submitted: 12/16/2011 09:15 AM
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Prejudice and Discrimination
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Prejudice and discrimination are negative manifestations of integrative power. Instead of bringing or holding people together, prejudice and discrimination push them apart. Ironically, even prejudice and discrimination imply some sort of relationship, however. If there is no relationship people would be completely unaware of another person's or group's existence. When there is any relationship at all--even a negative one--there is some integration.
Kenneth Boulding referred to this as "disintegrative power"-"the integration that is achieved through hatred, fear, and the threat of a common enemy." (Boulding, 1989, p. 62.)
This is seen in military patriotism, in nationalism, and in any situation of "negative identity" in which one group defines itself in terms of what it is not. This tends to lead into a "pathological situation of internal violence, often perpetuated through the family itself." While this is especially obvious and destructive when it occurs on a large scale--as it did in the Balkans, Somalia, Sri Lanka, or the Middle East--it also occurs on smaller scales as well, when one group holds negative stereotypes of another group and discriminates against members of that group based on those stereotypes.
 Prejudice is an attitude concerning the way people think about others. It comes from the Latin 'pre-judicare', or to pre-judge people. It means to hold an opinion about someone without having any evidence to justify it. Very often, there is evidence that a person's prejudice is wrong, but they ignore it. We often find prejudice and discrimination go hand in hand.
People can become prejudiced for many reasons. Which include the influence of parents, because young children accept everything their parents say, including their prejudices. These prejudices are very often difficult to break down later in life. Prejudice often comes from ignorance. Someone can be prejudiced...


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