Social Biases Paper

Social Biases Paper
Introduction

Social biases have a significant impact on the life of the society. Consciously or unconsciously, people are vulnerable to the impact of biases, which they acquire in the course of their life. In the course of the development of individuals, they learn different biases and stereotypes existing within the society or shaped under the impact of certain circumstances in the life of individuals, which shape their views and condition their behavior to the extent that they cannot act in a different way but the one conditioned by biases. In such a situation, people should understand the essence of biases, their nature and origin in order to avoid biased behavior or attitude to each other because biases can lead to discrimination and offense of other people. Therefore, biases are acquired by individuals in the course of their life and shape their views but people should avoid biases by all means because they can lead to discrimination and provoke conflicts within the society.

Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination

In fact, biases lay the foundation to such concepts and phenomena as prejudices, stereotyping and discrimination. In actuality, it is important to distinguish prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination because they represent different manifestations of biases. To put it more precisely, prejudice is a prejudgment or an assumption made about someone or something before having adequate consideration and detailed information about the person or issue, which is subject to prejudice (Rosnow, 1972). Prejudice implies the formation of biases on the ground of the superficial view on a person or issue without careful consideration and analysis on the ground of which it would be possible to make adequate, objective assessment of an individual or issue. At the same time, stereotyping is a commonly held public belief about specific social group or types of individuals (Brewer, 1979). In fact, prejudices are a sort of shaped biases, which are clearly defined and deep-rooted in the consciousness of people. As for discrimination, this is the ultimate manifestation of biases, which force people to act and to offend the specific social group or type of people on the ground of biases and stereotypes. As a rule, discrimination implies the offense of individuals on the ground of some characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender or any other.

Subtle and blatant biases

In actuality, biases are always present in the society. At the same time, manifestations of biases are not always obvious. In such a context, it is possible to distinguish subtle and blatant biases. Subtle biases are biases which are not obvious and normally they are hidden to the extent that they are not perceived as biases at all. As a rule, subtle bias is a belief, which people take for granted and they have no doubts that this belief is true. For instance, in the past the gender differentiation of jobs was taken for granted. For instance, for a long time, females could not serve in the army or be members of a crew on a ship. The gender-related biases in these domains were deep-rooted so much that people took them for granted. However, today, these biases turned into blatant biases, i.e. biases which are obvious and people understand that these biases are unjust and have no ground but social prejudices and stereotypes.

The impact of biases on the life of individuals

The impact of biases on the life of individuals can hardly be underestimated. As it has been already mentioned above, people are vulnerable to the negative impact of biases. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that biases can provoke conflicts between people because biases imply the existence of differences and prejudiced attitude toward certain social groups or individuals. In fact, the extreme manifestation of biases is discrimination. At this point, it is necessary to dwell upon the origin of discrimination from biases. For instance, racial discrimination is grounded on racial biases. Representatives of the dominant racial group can develop biases in relation to racial minorities on the ground of the different appearance of representatives of minorities. As a rule, such biases are closely intertwined with prejudices people develop on the ground of the difference of some people or social groups from the dominant social group. Steadily, prejudices lead to the formation of stereotypes which turn into deep-rooted biases which people may be not even aware of. Eventually, people believe that representatives of minorities are inferior compared to the dominant racial group just because representatives of the dominant racial group are more successful than representatives of minorities. As a result, biases lead to discrimination and unjust, subjective attitude to certain social groups or issues.

The strategy to overcome social biases

In such a situation, the elimination of biases becomes essential to prevent discrimination and offence of representatives of minorities or individuals suffering from biased attitude to them. In this regard, the most efficient strategy to overcome biases is the education of children based on the concept of tolerance. What is meant here is the fact that from the beginning of their life, children should learn that difference is a norm. There is nothing bad in being different. If children learn to accept difference as a norm, they become less vulnerable to the impact of biases. Instead, they become tolerant and respect rights and liberties of other people and attempt to avoid biases. However, this strategy needs a lot of time to be implemented.

Conclusion

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that biases affect consistently the life of people and society at large. They can provoke discrimination and conflicts between people. At the same time, biases are irrelevant to the actual, objective, adequate assessment of certain social groups or issues. Therefore, biases should be eliminated and people should be conscious of the danger of biases and biased attitude to each other. To cope with biases, people should understand clearly what biases are. In addition, they should have tolerant, democratic education to avoid biases.

References:

Brewer, M (1979). "In-group bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A cognitive-motivational analysis". Psychological Bulletin, 86: 307–324
Rosnow, R. L. (March, 1972). “Poultry and Prejudice.” Psychologist Today, p. 53.

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