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09/04/2019

How do I write a definition essay on prejudice?

QUESTION
How do I write a definition essay on prejudice?
What goes in the first paragraph?

ANSWER
follow the format of this short essay

Prejudice is, as the name implies, the process of “pre-judging” something. It implies coming to a judgment on a subject before learning where the preponderance of evidence actually lies, or forming a judgment without direct experience. Holding a politically unpopular view is not in itself prejudice, and politically popular views are not necessarily free of prejudice. When applied to social groups, prejudice generally refers to existing biases toward the members of such groups, often based on social stereotypes; and at its most extreme, results in groups being denied benefits and rights unjustly (see persecution) or, conversely, unfairly showing unwarranted favor towards others (see bias). Mostly just prejudging and thinking that everyone of that race is bad.

This is different from viewpoints accumulated though direct life experience, which are neither prejudiced, conditioned or necessarily instinctive: they are not pre-judgments but post-judgments. Some argue that all politically based views stem from a lack of sufficient life experience; this, however, provokes the question of how much life experience is required before a point of view is no longer regarded as prejudiced. If no amount of experience entitles a person to a viewpoint – if every is biased – then there can be no objectivity. Judgements based on experience may, however, be coloured by prejudice. One might imagine a continuum from “prejudiced” to “based on experience,” with many, if not most, views coming somewhere between the two extremes.

Fallacious extension of one’s negative past experiences to the general case can be harmful; it can be termed bias, or more colloquially, “lumping”. If a person has developed the concept that members of one group have certain characteristics because of a sour past acquaintance with a member of that group, s/he may presume that all members of the group have such characteristics. (See guilt by association.) This is typical of all prejudice: racism, linguicism, ageism, heterosexism, prejudice based on differing political stances, and classism or elitism based on ones’ socioeconomic status. There are prejudices towards those with disabilities, because a “handicapped” or disabled person may appear different from everyone else or unable to live the way an “abled” person can. And prejudices against people from other countries, regions and occupations as well are expressed by jokes or statements.

In other cases, it may be a matter of early education: people taught that certain attitudes are the “correct” ones may form opinions without weighing the evidence on both sides of a given question with no malice intended on the child’s part. An adult might even be shocked to hear racial slurs or comments and their own opinions on various groups echoed back at them from their children. In today’s more diverse and sensitive society (the US, Australia and Europe in particular), it’s considered taboo for persons to publicly express their prejudices as a dangerous ideology onto another race or group of people.

Sociologists have termed prejudice an adaptive behavior. Biased views are necessary at times for human survival: we don’t always have time to form a legitimate view about a potential foe before adopting a defensive stance that could save our lives. Conversely, prejudice is non-adaptive when it interferes with survival or well-being.

It was mine in highschool