Social Psychology - Prejudice Prejudice Research Proposal

Length: 8 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Race Type: Research Proposal Paper: #15631281 Related Topics: Pride And Prejudice, Aggression, Social Class, Emancipation Proclamation
Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Early trauma that causes anger often corresponds to higher levels of aggression later in life, especially where the traumas are suppressed and internalized instead of being expressed at the time of their origin and at the source.

Furthermore, since many dysfunctional families forbid the expression of anger by children (particularly anger toward parents), individuals who experience significant levels of early trauma that produces repressed anger are often considerably more aggressive throughout life subsequently than individuals who were fortunate not to experience as much early trauma (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). Aggression is a known factor in criminal conduct as well as other forms of non-criminal negative social behavior such as those associated with overt prejudice and other types of social intolerance toward others (Macionis 2003).

Aggression and Prejudice:

One of the primary ways that aggression-prone individuals express their repressed rage is in their treatment of other less powerful individuals (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005).

Within the family system, aggressive adults express their aggressive tendencies in their parenting and older siblings often emulate learned aggression against their younger siblings. Outside the family, the same tendency holds true and aggressive employers tend to treat their employees much differently than better adjusted employers. Likewise individuals victimized by aggression at home tend to perpetuate the same types of behaviors in their personal relationships and later, within their own families, thereby continuing the cycle (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005).

When prejudice is permitted in society, it presents a perfect opportunity for the expression of aggressive tendencies against those perceived as scapegoats, or against those who merely are incapable of defending themselves (Macionis 2003). No doubt American slave owners differed substantially in the ways that they treated their slaves and the most aggressive plantation owners and overseers perpetrated the worst atrocities.

In the period of American


However, the racial climate that prevailed in the U.S. At that time presented a convenient opportunity to act out their most primal aggressions against individuals who were still regarded as less than human at the time.


At the turn of the 21st century, American society has publicly embraced the concept of tolerance and diversity. On the other hand, it is difficult to conceive of the complete eradication of all forms of prejudice until the concept of benign prejudice is no longer considered more acceptable than overt prejudice. Even though overt prejudice is no longer tolerated in many areas of life subject to governmental authority, a tremendous amount of prejudice still exists in unregulated areas of society and much of it reflects displaced aggression as much as prejudice.

Racial pride is a particularly harmful idea because it is promoted as the antithesis of racial prejudice when, in fact, it is merely a more insidious form of prejudice against others by virtue of arbitrary differences among people who are all identical human beings except for purely superficial external characteristics. To whatever extent those characteristics do not justify prejudicial treatment, they also fail to justify inclusion within one's personal identity or as a source of "pride." Regardless of whether it is expressed outwardly or not, and whether it is directed toward others in a negative way or merely as racial or cultural pride, prejudicial sentiments debase other human beings and detract from the development of genuine social harmony throughout society to the detriment of all.


Friedman, a. (2005) a History of American Law. New York: Touchstone.

Gerrig, R.J., Zimbardo, R.G. (2005)

Psychology and Life 18th Ed.

Hoboken, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Henslin, J.M. (2002) Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Macionis, J.J. (2003)…

Sources Used in Documents:


Friedman, a. (2005) a History of American Law. New York: Touchstone.

Gerrig, R.J., Zimbardo, R.G. (2005)

Psychology and Life 18th Ed.

Hoboken, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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