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    Sociological Origins of Political Predjudices

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    Political prejudice affects every individual, group, and society within the world. Structural functionalism believed that individuals might make up a community, but to study society, sociologists must look beyond individuals to social facts which consist of laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all cultural rules that govern social life.

    It is these very things that create political prejudice. Our lack of interpersonal relationships with others has fed into political prejudice and has created a division within our country. Building personal relationships and practicing self-honesty and humility are the very things that will dampen the divide and pull our country back together again.

    Sociological Origins of Political Prejudice

    Political Prejudice has become one of the most prevalent issues that individuals in the United States are affected by. Political debates have created divisions amongst families, friends, loved ones, colleagues, workplace environments and have contributed to a mass of violent sprees against American citizens.

    This paper will discuss a sociological perspective on the origins of political prejudice. Understanding the origins of political prejudice can stand as a weapon against close-mindedness and assist individuals, groups, cultures, and society to work through there bias’s and work more within an open-minded, flexible place of social interaction with others.

    The only way any one individual or group can change is to have an awareness of their psychodynamic issues that are distorting reality, have acceptance regarding their part in the disturbance and what the individual needs to do to change themselves, and lastly, they must act necessary to make long-lasting change. This is a philosophy I learned about years ago, Awareness, Acceptance, and Action are the “A” in CHANGE. Political prejudice affects everyone, it does not discriminate and tears relationships amongst individuals apart.

    Political prejudice is of interest to me as I have lost friendships over political differences, have been in conflicts and have even found myself judging others due to their own political opinions. By understanding ourselves on a deeper level around political prejudice, we are that much more likely to stay out of hostile conflict and maintain relationships by allowing others to have a difference of opinion.

    Before going into the origins of Political prejudice, we must first understand sociology, understand the theoretical framework and have a working understanding of the two primary political systems within the United States.

    Sociology is a systemic or scientific study of human society and social behavior, from large-scale institutions and mass culture to small groups and individual interactions (Ferris & Stein, 2018). A working definition of sociology that I have developed for myself is essentially studying the social relationships of human beings and institutions on various topics such as family, religion, race, economic class, crime, and politics.

    These are just a few areas that sociology explores. Sociology also attempts at analyzing and investigating social cause and effect explaining outcomes both positive and negative. Understanding the world from a sociological perspective allows an individual to create space in their mind for a ‘bigger’ picture.

    Sociological theories play a significant role in understanding how human behavior is impacted by society and how human behavior impacts society. The theory that will be used to explore the origins of political bigotry is known as structural functionalism theory, which was known as the dominant sociological perspective in the mid-twentieth century and is still used today amongst theorists.

    Structural-functional theory sees society as a structure with interrelated parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of the individuals in that society (Henry, 2016). Structural theory suggests the human body and society work simultaneously to keep society functioning using the economy, religion, healthcare, family, government and education.

    Durkheim believed that individuals might make up society, but to study society, sociologists must look beyond individuals to social facts which consist of laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all cultural rules that govern social life. A common theme amongst all the sociological theories, aside from postmodernism, is to find universal truths to work from within the theoretical framework.

    Without having a framework individuals and society are left to understand issues within a narrow-minded context that does not promote change on a production scale. The study of sociology stresses the importance of unlearning what we have learned so that we can see things from different perspectives and to do that we must work from a scientific framework where we discover cause and effect to achieve healthy change.

    The United States works within a political system known as the government. This government is occupied by members of Congress that are representatives of the two major political parties known as the Republicans and Democrats. Republicans support the governing of America under a capitalist framework. Capitalism is an economic system where private entities own the factors of production.

    The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor. The CEO/Owners of the four factors of production can exercise control through these companies and owns the labor he or she employs. Capitalism requires a free market economy to succeed. Capitalism is an economic system based on the laws of free-market competition, privatization of the means of production, and production for profit (Ferris & Stein, 2018).

    This economic system is not an equal opportunity system. This system is for profit and is based on the market for supply and demand and allows privatization of most/all businesses. Capitalism does not offer equal opportunity for the laborers who work for companies leaving no room for much growth. This would be a disadvantage within the economic structure of capitalism.

    The government should not interfere in the economies of the free market, meaning, the market determines investments, production, distribution, and decisions, and government interference is only allowed when making and enforcing rules or policies governing the conduct of business. An advantage to capitalism is the freedom of consumer choice; the ability to choose what they want and do not want to consume. Capitalism also encourages economic growth to increase our living standards.

    Some disadvantages of capitalism are the monopoly of power, inequality and a recession/unemployment because the economy is reliant upon the market. Capitalism is a for-profit way of running the country and places most of its financial dependence on the market. This type of government is typically challenged by a democratic/socialist government because there is an extreme hierarchy of economic class leaving it more difficult for lower-income families to survive in a high-priced market.

    Socialism is an economic system based on collective ownership of the means of production, the collective distribution of goods and services, and government regulation of the economy (Ferris & Stein, 2018). Socialism’s formal economy is controlled by the state and encourages an increased social welfare system. This economy is controlled by a central authority and not by the people. Under a socialist economy, small businesses tend to experience a decrease in business functions due to the increase in taxes.

    Socialism also believes in equal opportunity and places requirements on large industries to provide returns that benefit society. A disadvantage of a socialist economy is the high tax penalties placed on society so that this form of an economy can provide the equal opportunity and welfare system to all. This economy in some ways can cause great strain on families and business as well as individuals across the United States.

    Prejudice affects everyone in the world. Prejudice is a powerful feeling towards a person or group member based solely on that person’s group membership. Prejudice often refers to preconceived, unfounded and unfavorable feelings or beliefs toward people because of their beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, sex, gender, religion, sexuality, language, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, and criminal background as well as personality characteristics.

    Research on prejudice began back in the early 1920s and the first study conducted was on white supremacy. Some of the significant theorists that emerged starting in the 1930s were Theodor Adorno, Gordon Alport, Marilyn Brewer, Thomas Pettigrew, and Youneg-Bruehl.

    The most widely known theory used today comes from the Contemporary theories. This theory is known as the integrated threat theory that was developed by Walter g. Stephan. This theory assumes that individuals operate in a group-based context where group memberships form a part of the individual identity and suggest that individuals are impacted by realistic threats, symbolic threats, intergroup anxiety and negative stereotypes.

    Political prejudice is essential in every area of everyone’s life. Politics affect or can affect every area of an individual’s life. Dependent on someone’s income they are impacted on some tax bracket and have a guaranteed wage that they bring home. This affects the level of healthcare they have or do not have, the type of home or housing they can afford, the food they eat, the vacations and leisure time they do or do not take, access to mental health and medical care as well as their relationships with others. Political prejudice has ended relationships, split families, resulted in lost jobs and even death by violent crimes.

    So yes, we are all affected by political prejudice. What individuals fail to understand is that we judge others which results in prejudice, bigotry, hate crimes, etc. because we feel threatened in some way shape or form and fear we will lose some sense of control over ourselves and our lives. It is important to recognize that we all judge, but there is a line that separates those who have judgments and then those who believe their judgments are fact. By accepting our judgments, we are setting the stage for hate to emerge and division to take hold.

    This leaves individuals in a closeminded psychological place that ultimately impacts the larger group that they are associated with breeding more and more judgment all false belief systems. Individuals who operate this way are typically continuing to run their own lives on the wrong belief systems they were raised on resulting in the repetition of unhealthy mindsets and ways of living that are counterproductive to themselves and society. This type of psychological operating is the root cause and or the origin of political prejudice.

    Our roots that established false belief systems are wreaking havoc on our current way of thinking which is a phenomenon in psychology known as transference. As a result, when political debates enter the equation, individuals cling to their political parties to maintain some sense of control, safety and even some relevance of identity and to also claim power, control, and self-righteousness over the other. This type of reaction is triggered out of complete fear and insecurities of oneself. Who are we if our belief systems are false?

    That is a big realization to tackle. Our beliefs systems come from our morals, values, religious background, economic status, social status, etc. Individuals must analyze their erroneous beliefs in each of these areas to make a change. The change we are looking to make is the one thing our world has lost through the emerging of the internet, and that is the intimacy of interpersonal relationships. According the article “How We Became Bitter Political Enemies” states:

    A part of the problem is that Americans are less likely to have the kind of interpersonal contact across party lines that can dampen harsh beliefs about each other. Neighborhoods, workplaces, households, and even online dating lives have become politically homogenous.

    Voters are less likely today to have neighbors who belong to another party than they were a half a century ago. Bipartisan marriages are on the decline. Just as interpersonal contact has been shown to ease prejudice against racial minorities and gays, psychologists believe that more such contact would be good for political civility too (Badger & Chokshi, 2017)

    A half a century ago we did not have the internet, texting and emailing to communicate with one another with. This has created limited interpersonal relationships where two people learn how to communicate with one another civilly, read body language, have compassion and learn to agree to disagree with one another. Electronic forms of communication have allowed people to let out their hostilities towards others without fear of consequence because there is not face to face ‘real’ relationship that they will have to deal with and can proceed on with their ‘group.’

    My connection to this topic is over the sheer fact that I have been victim to political prejudice. Judged and stereotyped because of who I vote for, comments that I make that somehow suddenly indicate who I voted for and ultimately resulted in a loss of friendships.

    Most of my family all come from a Republican perspective, and I tend to not participate in those conversations, not because I disagree but because they become so intense and opinionated on the topic that having a conversation is unrealistic. There is a moral issue at hand that I think is important to fight for and that moral issue is honesty and humility. Honesty with oneself is a tough term to come to which leads to humility.

    If I can admit that I do not know everything and that I do not have to be right, then I can get in touch with humility and listen to the individual I disagree with so that I can understand their perspective and point of view. Self-honesty also means realizing that my judgments have nothing to do with the individual I do not see eye to eye with, they have to do with myself and my insecurities of not feeling in control, safe or heard.

    Communication is the most significant tool we must fight against political prejudice, but to use that tool we must take a hard look at ourselves and understand what it is that leaves us defensive and judgmental towards others. Our minds are the most powerful thing on this planet, and our minds are the very things that will either tear us apart or pull us together. We need real interpersonal connection with others to win the war on Political prejudice.

    The ability to feel care and love towards another person in their presence is what keeps us together and fighting for one another despite our differences. We must get out of “self” to be present to listen to others. We not in danger just because we disagree with someone or they disagree with us. It is our disagreements that allow us to find a middle ground with one another that will provide a happier, and healthier present and future for ourselves and our society.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Sociological Origins of Political Predjudices. (2021, Sep 28). Retrieved from

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