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Social Behavior: Examples of Modern Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination

Briefly describe an example of modern prejudice that has the potential to cause widespread harm. Explain why this form of prejudice is pervasive in society and describe the theories pertaining to the origins of stereotyping and prejudice that best explain this example. Offer two or more strategies for prejudice reduction that might be effective for preventing the example you identified, and explain why they would be effective Provide APA references.

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In considering an example of modern prejudice that has the potential to cause widespread harm we must consider homosexuality. The most prevalent characteristic regarding prejudice with regard to homosexuality is it creates stereotypes which are many times projected upon a person who is not homosexual. Many times we hear our friends say "he is effeminate" or "she is masculine." Additionally, for those who are homosexual it causes bullying which leads to social exile, depression, suicide and sometimes murder at the hands of those who are homophobic. One need only consider our society and the myriad of instances where homosexuality has bred a violent crime. Additionally, the admission of homosexuality can ruin a person's career. The lynch pin of this prejudice is that homosexuality is universally taboo and that people who do not like each other because of race, religion, ethnicity, or political beliefs can unite to discriminate against homosexuals. This belief is certainly rooted in an unreal environment which has little or no understanding of the homosexual as a person and many time uses labeling to make prejudice more acceptable. This is referred to as homophobia.

The definition of homophobia is commonly defined as an unreasoning fear of homosexuals. This definition is the commonly accepted definition; however, within this definition is the key term unreasoning. It is from this view point we will begin our assessment of homophobia. One can take this definition and apply to any form of prejudice and see that the "unreasoning fear of ... can be filled in with anything. Consider this statement on the issue of homophobia and how it continues to propagate:

...dereality breeds further dereality because homophobia flourishes in the climate of ignorance bred by the homophobia itself. It is the rare bigot who seeks to discover the truth about his or her subject. Indeed being bigoted virtually requires avoiding the objects of one's bigotry, so that eventually there is no first-hand knowledge of the subject anywhere to be found. While there are myths or stereotypes about straights -- for example, the myth of the hypersexual construction worker, or the hypo sexual nerdy intellectual -- at least some of what most straight people know about other straights is based on direct observation. But for homophobes often the only information they have about gays and lesbians is from newspapers and other secondary sources. As a result what they know about gays and lesbians they get from tabloids, which speak only about the things gays and lesbians do that are considered to be newsworthy -- which is, thankfully, behavior that is atypical for most gays and lesbians. (Kantor, 1998, p. 4)

This excerpt is interesting in that in most commonly observed social situations when men or women are pretending to be homosexual they almost always act either feminine in mannerisms when mimicking the man or masculine when mimicking the female. ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses homophobia in 1790 words with three references.