Reflection on Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination
Stereotypes are the social constructions that propagate the belief that a given group of people has specific characteristics. The belief is so strong that the reaction and lifestyle of the group is based on this belief. Stereotype is not seen as a vice and many people view it just a s a normal phenomena in life. It looks so natural that the people have learnt to live with. Prejudice on the other hand is a baseless dislike or preference over one thing or another (equality and human rights commission, 5). It can lead to feelings of superiority or inferiority complex. Those whose prejudice favors are seen as better off while those bearing negative prejudice are looked down upon. These two evolve over time and ultimately lead to discrimination. Discrimination on the other hand leads to distress which is a precursor for mental problems (Mental Health,236). In diagnosis of mental illnesses, prejudice can pre-determine the physician’s diagnosis. For instance, a black American is more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive mental problem than a Caucasian or a White.
Prejudice exists in varied societal forms which can cause stress. Men are believed to have greater emotional stability than women. This is because in childhood, women are taught to express themselves while the stereotype dictates that a man should be hardy. However, they also manifest behavioral disorders such as drug abuse and aggression. It is also believed that married people (Mental Health, 237). Stereotyping can also be based on racial basis, where a given group is perceived to be superior to others. The minority groups tend to have mental stresses. Economic difficulties are a further cause for distress (Mental Health, 238). People with less income are predisposed to stress since the income dictates that they live in lower class places. They witness social crimes every now and then. Their environment is also polluted. This causes a high possibility for mental disorders.
Prejudices and discrimination can however be overcome very easily. Personal and social resources top the list. An empowered individual is more mentally stable. Presence of communal support helps to further curb discrimination. For instance, urban people are thought to be more helpful than rural people (Mental Health, 238). On the other hand, married people, especially men have longer, healthier and happy lives as compared to single or co-habiting people. This is an indicator that sharing is a solution to distress and can help to curb mental disorders. Sharing of communal resources such as playgrounds, parks, cinema halls and other social amenities can go a long way into eliminating the problem. Exposure further helps in controlling the problem. As earlier indicated, stereotyping sprouts from a confined understanding and therefore, if the cocoon is broken and the individuals exposed, then the stereotyping would be significantly reduced (Mental Health, 239). Since stereotyping develops over time, then its cycle can be broken by breaking the cycle, changing the environment or changing the people’s beliefs.
Generally, the learning experience helped to understand the various ways in which stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination arise, the relationship between them and how they affect individuals’ lives. It also gave the way forward on how to deal with the issue.
Aonymous. Mental Health and Illness. (n.d). Print. Pp. 236-240.
Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report 56. Processes of Prejudice: Theory, Evidence and Intervention. Web, 19th Oct. 2011 http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/research/56_processes_of_prejudice.pdf