Themost common form of prejudice that most people are accustomed to isracial prejudice. However there are many other forms of prejudicethat make up prejudices including: creed, color, religiouspersuasion, among others. Some prejudices, contrary to some commonmisconceptions, are even encouraged in some societies.Prejudicesresult from the way people perceive others on the basis of simplemental, physical, and social differences.
Causesand Effects of Prejudices
Indifferent realms of the society, prejudices are a commonly occurringphenomenon. Examples of such prejudices occur in the sports arenawhereby you will find diehard fans adorning jerseys of their favoriteteams from head to toe or even as mascots. Most of these fans closelyfollow the proceedings with chuckles all over their faces. The samescene projected to a sci-fi convention, the science fanatics will benoticed dressed as Starfleet Officers, Storm Troopers, or even StarTrek figures. The difference between these two scenarios, however, isa mere ‘Ridicule’. While the sports fan will be glorified asbeing a passionate supporter “portraying his spirit”, the sci-fifan is considered “some loser who needs to get a life”. This gotme thinking of “how bizarre and condescendingly unfair it is thatscience comics and fiction fans are deemed as being dweebs, nerds,and geeks in a demeaning and embarrassing manner whereas sports fansmay be ‘worse’ considering all factors, for instance in thecontext of hooliganism and outright racial discrimination in sports.I suppose the only way comic books and science fiction conventionswill attain genuine acceptability and respectability is the momentthe events are designed, for purposes separate from debate andsocialization, but rather as money making venture for instance themind-gobbling amount of money that endears so many people towardsdeveloping an interest in football.
Theindividuals who fall in this category of geeks and nerds believe thatthe discrimination is very unfair since the two groups sharecommonalties for instance they are both fans of a lovable andenjoyable hobby, albeit sometimes extremely, though the passion isnot different from that of others whose interest may be shared withtheirs to any degree. Nonetheless, though sports fanatics aresocially acceptable, sometimes some positively directed jeer mayemanate from your friends. Sports fanatics are seen as being modernand trendy, this is contrary to the convention and scientificfanatics who have to endear with condescending glances in case theyexhibit their secret passion to take part in fun social events.
Thesame treatment is accorded to other hardcore fans of such activitiesas renaissance faires. The men are given knowing grins whereas thewomen have to contend with lascivious looks, this adds up to theprejudice. Interestingly noteworthy is the treatment that is accordedthese minority group people once they come out of the closet todeclare their love and passion for something that is considered asbeing ‘bizarre’ from a societal perspective. I have experiencedthe destruction of relationships, loss of jobs, and friendsostracized reason being that they liked things that were out of theordinary.
Accordingto the Oxford dictionary definition, a fanatic is defined as “anindividual with an uncritical and overwhelming zeal or enthusiasm, asin politics or religion”. According to this definition, being a fandoesn’t necessarily imply that one is unbiased in their subject.Nonetheless, being a non-fan of their subject or idea does not implyirrelevance of their perspectives. Scientific fanatics aretechnological innovators in numerous scientific spheres.
Itis through such science conventions and sci-fi series like Star Trekthat gave birth to the innovation of the idea of a gadget that couldinstantly link two crew members living in two different parts of theworld. The device only required one to open it and click a buttonthen start talking at it. This gadget is today commonly known as acell phone. Amateur electronic wizards designed replica Star Trekcommunicators occasionally and are sold on eBay Bluetooth technologyis behind cell phone piggyback.
MRIscanners, Cell phones, and weapons are all credited to fanpopularity. And yet the same said ‘geeks’ are to a large extentdiscriminated against to such large extents that I personallyobserved someone lose their job due to their hobby. Funny enough, theIsraeli armed forces restrain from promoting service men/women deemedto be engaged in role-playing games.
Accordingto an experienced security officer interviewed by Ynet, the level ofa soldier’s security clearance is determined using a specific setcriterion. “Among the major tests we conduct whether through directinterrogation, or information gathering, is asking the new memberswhether they take part in the game,” he reiterates, “in case ofan affirmative answer, he is directed to a psychologist or any othermedical professional such as psychiatrist for purposes of medicalmental evaluation.”
Frommy personal observation and experience since I joined the army in1980 and spent 20 years in the force, it is true that over half thetotal number of American soldiers sent to undertake the evaluationare accorded low security clearances, thereby being prevented fromserving in high and sensitive IDF positions. Despite my longexperience in the army, I was shocked by the discovery that therole-playing games players become “detached from reality” and“Are easily influenced by external sources” as well as being“indicative of a weak personality”. Though this is done to thesegroups of prejudiced individuals, the question is why the sametreatment is given to extreme sports fans.
Mystrongly homophobic uncle Bob surprised me as I observed him withouthis knowledge, and realized that he was not only courteous of a gaycouple exchanging pleasantries at our New Mexican fan club. Hisreaction or lack of thereof, surprised me a lot since he is normallyvery vocal about his tastes especially regarding gay individuals andthe entire gay community. Taking into consideration the nature of myuncle especially, him being among the old generation who are veryrigid regarding some of these lifestyle changes adopted by the newgeneration of youth, it was surprising to me but welcome news that myuncle was steadfastly changing his mindset regarding these issues andtheir mere inclusion to the fan club depicted this change in myuncle’s prejudicial standing. Though Uncle Tom did not treatmembers of the gay community as the straight members of the club,their inclusion brought quite a dynamic modification that was quiteevident encouraging.
Itis undeniably true that prejudice is not a phenomenon that can bewhisked away anytime in the near future, it is entangled andintertwined in our psyche as a species. We have a misconception that“different means strange, strange means dangerous”. Fortunately,there is a humanly way of dealing with this issue. Fanatism is a wayof life, and fanatics are part of our society. Everyone is a fan ofsomething, just that many people are not accommodative of otherpeoples’ fanatics’, especially if they don’t fancy that form offanatic behavior, and thus end up dismissing them, unaware that theywill also be dismissed the same way.
Thoughprejudice is assumed by many to mainly entail racism, other differentform of prejudice exist. An example of such is a story of a highlyreputable writer and teacher by the name of Mike Rose, though hiseducational background sprouted from vocational educational programs.Mike Rose was a living testimony that children who are affected bysuch diseases as dementia and autisms disorders ought not to belooked down upon as being disabled. Despite these special studentsbeing “slower” in learning, they achieve the same outcomes asnormal children, or even better. Mike proceeded to graduate fromUCLA, a highly reputable university, and even did his PHDsuccessfully to become a top scholar.
Duringchildhood stages of life, we are more adaptive of other peoples’differences, uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses, but with time westart developing certain stereotypes. Prejudices are quite offensiveand are not at all fun as some people may deem it to be. Thoughindividuals and the society at large cannot completely eradicate thissocietal vice, and yet it cannot be fixed by passing some forms oflegislation to control it, the buck stops with every individual tochange their personal desires by being respective and accommodativeof other peoples’ hobbies, passions, and interests.