Social Biases Paper Luvie Lane April 18, 2010 Social Biases Paper A bias is often described as a preference towards a particular way of thinking or viewing something. To be biased means that a person’s attitude or behavior is influenced by a particular prejudice. A person may or may not be aware that he or she has a bias. Social biases are considered a problem in society due to one group looking down on another person or group because that group feels they are better than the other.
The social influence that some groups have can generate common biases. Social biases can be very damaging and can hinder interaction between people. Fiske, 2010). Define the concepts of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination Prejudice is a feeling or attitude towards the individuals of a group, formed only on the bases of his or her membership in that group. Stereotypes deal with generalizations about others which usually cause a view of predictable or typical characteristics of other groups.
For example, Keith is a male and probably behaves in a particular way. Discrimination is the actual action from a person or group toward another person or group that is the subject of prejudice. Stereotypes can classify people into groups based on similar characteristics or attributes.
Stereotypes have the ability to distort a person’s perspective. When a stereotype becomes active, the characteristics associated with the group, negative or positive, easily can be recalled. Stereotypes can affect social judgments, how much one person likes another and what behaviors are expected. There has been a times where due to stereotyping a person or group will become self fulfilling. Prejudice as an attitude and can act as a plan for gathering information about other members of a group. Information that is compatible with prejudices usually gets more attention from others and is more likely to be remembered.
Even if the information that is shared is positive, most individuals will focus on the negative part. Prejudice consists of negative feelings that individuals may have when they are presented with a particular group or talking about a group of people. Prejudice can come from direct intergroup conflict, social learning, and other cognitive sources. Discrimination is the behavioral display of prejudice that has been unchecked. Discrimination can take many forms it can be subtle or overt which can discourage other members of other groups. (Fiske, 2010).
Explain the differences between subtle and blatant bias Most individuals display unconscious subtle biases, which are generally automatic, cool, indirect, ambiguous and ambivalent. Subtle biases point out ordinary discrimination. Feeling comfortable with one owns group while avoiding outside groups. There are individuals that exhibit blatant biases that are more conscious, direct and unambiguous. Blatant biases deal with aggression for example, sex or hate crimes against others. Core social motives help to maintain biases. Subtle and blatant biases affect the group that is being targeted.
Subtle biases happen daily and often times the person being bias is unaware of his or her bias. For example, at the agency that I work for, women tend to be more interrupted than men. When there is a departmental meeting the supervisor’s would give eye contact to the male figures in the room more often than the females in the room. It appears that the idea is that men are more valuable than women at the agency. Blatant bias is when men in the workplace all get promoted and women are given less involved work. There are people who believe that women are incompetent. In my opinion, double standards are a good example of biases.
It shows the more blatant biases for example, a male supervisor wants to get is point across in a meeting. He is viewed as assertive, while a female in that same position would be looked at as aggressive. The female’s behavior is devalued although it is the same behavior as the males. (Fiske, 2010). Describe the impact of bias on the lives of individuals Biases can affect people in many different ways. People often use categories or labels to describe others. The labels can be based on the way a person looks, talks or what group a person belongs to. Biases happen naturally but assumptions are often times made of people that the roup may not even know. Assumptions about another group tend to lead to stereotypes, when stereotypes influence the person’s attitude, a fair judgment about the other person or group may become difficult. The influence on a person’s judgment is called a bias. Most of the time negative words and feelings are drawn around the opposite group which makes it challenging to develop trust and even friendship with others. A person may feel unwanted and non important, ultimately becoming withdrawn from society. Biases can affect an individual’s self-esteem. Some groups that endure biases display self-fulfilling prophecy behavior.
Other effects from biases are forming inaccurate opinions about another group and even impaired performance. Biases remind people that are being treated differently how society views them. (Fiske, 2010). Evaluate at least one strategy that can be used to overcome social biases. For individuals to see a reduction in biases there has to be education, economic opportunities and consistent intergroup communication. People with more intergroup contact tend to be less bias. Changing the way an individual or group feels toward another group requires building up close relationships or consistent contact with the other group.
Extending friendship between groups would help to take away the negative feelings towards other groups. Contact hypothesis suggest that stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination can be reduced or eliminated by interacting with each other. Education is another way to overcome social biases. When members of a group educate themselves about another person or group the negative association that was placed on the group may disappear. Groups should research other group’s history to get a better understanding of what that group stands for. Understanding what our own biases are and not leaning toward one particular view helps build tolerance.
Economically the group that is in power tends to exclude the group that is not. If everyone was given the same economic opportunities, none of the groups would be at a disadvantage. (Fiske, 2010). Conclusion In Conclusion, biases go against group members or anyone that is labeled because of a bias. Biases correlate with stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. A stereotype is a generalization about another group. When stereotypes are formed it is hard to obtain all the information that is needed to make an informed and fair decision about another person or group.
Prejudice is a negative view formed based on stereotyping. Discrimination occurs when people judge other groups and treat him or her differently based on prejudices and stereotypes. Biases impact individuals in different ways. Educating oneself about another group and consistently interacting with others can help reduce or even eliminate social biases. (Fiske, 2010). References Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social Beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology (2nd ed). Hoboken, N. J. : John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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