Theories of Prejudice
Are some people more prejudiced than others? To answer this question. some theories focus on how individuals may transfer their internal psychological problem
onto an external object or person. Others look at factors such as social learning and personality types. he frustration-aggression hypossis states that people who are frustrated in their efforts to achieve a highly desired goal will respond with a pattern of aggression toward others (Dillard et 1939). The object of their aggression becomes the scapegoat-a person or group that is incapable of offering resistance to the hostility or aggressor of others (Merger,2009). Scapegoats arc often used as substitutes for the actual source of the frustration. For example. members of subordinate racial and ethnic groups are often . blamed for societal problems (such as unemployment or an economic recession) over which they have no controL According to some symbolic interactionists, prejudice results from social learning; in other words. it is learned from observing and imitating significant others. such as parents and peers. Initially. children do not have a frame of reference from which to question the prejudices of their relatives ad friends. When they are rewarded with smiles or laughs for telling derogatory okes or making negative comments about outgroup members, children’s prejudiced attitudes reinforced. Psychologist Theodor W Adorno and his collagues (1950) concluded that highly prejudiced individuals tend to have an authoritarian personality, which is characterized by excessive conformity, submissiveness .