.. zed the show “Murphy Brown” for depicting a single working mom having a child out of wedlock. The second most powerful man in the world was being prejudice towards women for working and not staying at home with their children. He was blasted by some of the media, yet he still found quite a few followers from our society. Society has come along way with beliefs of the roles of women, but we certainly have a lot further to travel. Another example I would like to present is one that I experienced in a military Equal Opportunity Training class I participated in.
The instructor began the class by stating she would give an example of gender prejudice if we would listen to her story and then write down the answer. I considered myself to be a very unbiased gender person and looked forward to taking the test. She stated, “a man and his son were traveling and slid on the ice. The father was instantly killed and the son was taken to the emergency room in critical condition. Upon arrival, the doctor came out stated they could not operate on this patience for he was their son.” The instructor asked us to explain how this could be.
My mind raced to come up with the answer. Maybe the boy had a step father, or the boys dad was gay and the doctor was his partner…I was sure I had came up with the right answer, after all I believed I did not hold any bias. The simple answer that the doctor was his mother never occurred to me. Even I have a long way to go with my own gender prejudice, just like our society. Women have always fought an uphill battle in our society in fighting gender prejudice. To better understand the history of women fighting gender prejudice in our society, I quote Veraware.com: American women have historically been victimized by discrimination in suffrage (which was not secured until a 1920 constitutional amendment), employment, and other civil rights (for Prejudice 8 many years, for example, women were denied the right to serve on juries). In the late 1960s the women’s movement experienced a rebirth, and the demand for legal equality with men was pressed not only against discriminatory practices but also against outmoded attitudes toward the role of women in society.
Some gains against discrimination in employment were made as a result of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 1972 Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution and submitted it to the states for ratification. With only 35 of the 38 state legislatures ratifying the amendment, however, the necessary approval was not secured by the 1982 deadline. By understanding the historic battle to overcome gender prejudice, society is able to better learn the steps needed to stop the spread of prejudice and come up with solutions. Solutions to Prejudice The roots of prejudice in our society are prevalent in many combinations of factors such as, upbringing, environment, media, and finally experiences.
Understanding the roots of prejudice are the keys to solving the spread of it. First of all, I believe society must keep passing laws against prejudice and fight it through government policy as stated by Holly Sklar: We need vigorous debate over how to reshape policy in the public interest – not the pseudo debate of false campaign promises, negative political ads and talk radio hate-mongering. Rights and “entitlements” familiar today – among them the eight-hour day, minimum wage, Social Security and the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively – were obtained in the face of strong opposition. Many of these achievements are being eroded. Demagoguery is threatening democracy.
To realize community over chaos we must not only protect old Prejudice 9 gains, but forge new social, political and economic rights for the 21st century. (1995, South End Press) Continuing to pass laws to stop prejudice is a good start, but not the only solution. Society must learn to educate our children throughout their lives on how to deal with prejudice and give them the skills to overcome discrimination. Brian Aull states: Even our federal government is at a loss in dealing with a problem that is rapidly evolving into a full-blown national crisis. The problem persists because we have avoided addressing it for what it really is – a social disease, virulent and infectious, woven into the moral and spiritual fabric of society, passed from parents to children, from one generation to another, for over three centuries.
The civil rights laws failed to thwart the growth of the cancer of racism, because they only dealt with two of the disease’s symptoms – segregation and discrimination – but not with the disease itself. (AAR, Internet) I believe that education and the continuous passing of laws will help stop prejudice at its roots. Finally, I note that the media plays a big role in how society forms prejudice views, especially towards blacks. Authors Kurt K. and Jason T. surveyed the media for a report and stated: One of the most influential and most prominate forms of media is the television.
Many young Americans watch music videos, which depict blacks as gangsters, drug dealers, and murderers. Many movies also seem to show this portrayal of blacks, such as Boyz in the Hood, a black film about life in the Los Angels community. Newspapers and news shows report the crimes of blacks because it is more interesting but this form of news is dangerously influencing young Americans to perceive blacks in a negative manner. (1997, Internet) Prejudice 10 Changing the medias portrayal of prejudice in our society will help people overcome their stereotypes and discrimination of other groups. All three of these solutions are a good first step in overcoming prejudice, but no one solution will be the only answer to solving the problem in our society. Applying all three solutions, education, reformed media, and continuous passage of new laws will help squash prejudice at its roots.
Conclusion There are many contributing factors to the roots of prejudice in our society, no one factor greater than the other does. Certainly, upbringing and environment seems to be an inherit factor that leads to traditional views of prejudice. While media, experiences and economic factors contribute to the on-going problem of prejudice in our society. The solution to overcoming prejudice in our society seems to lie in the ability to educate and train our children from a young age. This will help give children the tools and skills necessary for stopping the spread of prejudice in our society.
Also, reform of the medias portrayal of gender stereotypes and racial stereotypes need to be addressed. In order to fulfill a society with gender equality, we must allow women to hold higher jobs and positions of authority throughout our society. After all, women make up over half of the worlds population. No one solution will be the only contributing factor in changing societies traditionally held prejudice, but a combination of all three will help stop prejudice at its roots. Finally, we as society must want to change as whole in order to stop prejudice. Our society has taken a lot of steps in the past 400 years in overcoming prejudice as whole, but we still are a long ways away from achieving complete gender, racial, religious and ethnic harmony.
As quoted by Maya Angelou, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in Prejudice 11 value no matter what their color.” Or as Gavin Bush says, “Racism is a product of fear and ignorance. The world is richer for the mixture of different types of peoplelive and let life remove fear.” Bibliography Hutchinson, E. (1996). Beyond O.J.race, sex, and class lessons for america. Middle Passage Press Goldfield, D. (1990). Black and white and southern race relations and southern culture 1940 to present. Louisiana State University Press Baron, R.
& Byrne, D. (2000). Social psychology ninth edition. A Pearson Education Company Versaware Inc, (1999). Internet, www.funkandwagnalls.com Aull, B. (1999). Internet, www.artstistsagainstracism.com/educate. Sklar, H. (1995, South End Press) Internet, www.southend.press.
Angelou, M. & Gavin, B. (1999) Internet, www.artstistsagainstracism.com/educate.