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How to wipe out prejudices before they start?

The term “prejudice” generally refers to a prior judgment. It occurs when someone enters into a situation already knowing how they will respond to that situation based on biased, out of date, and often inaccurate ideas. In popular culture, the term invokes hateful opinions on another group’s colour, religion,  culture, family orientation, gender, status, etc. Prejudices are often the culprit behind broken relationships and cheap mindset.


“We often talk about prejudice on two different levels,” says David DeSteno, PhD., Assistant Professor of Psychology at  Northeastern University. “One is over conscious beliefs. The other is a more automatic gut reaction.” in his latest research, Dr DeSteno discovered that when his subjects got angry, their preferences for their own race increased. The anger we feel that time taps directly into our automatic biases, he explains.


It doesn’t matter if prejudice is hardwired or not because with the right kind of experience it can be changed. The best time to start is when kids are young when the social categories they’re building are still soft and flexible.


Some tips to reduce prejudices are:-


1. Educational Strategies:

Education plays the most vital role in spreading awareness about anything. Indulging in logic activities such as cooperative learning, discussion on various topics, instruction, and multicultural curriculum will help to reduce prejudice. Education helps in promoting positive relations via challenging stereotypes and myths about groups.


2. Expose kids to a more positive image of other racial groups:

Kids immersed in negative typecast and displayed by the media and society. Here, parents can help their kids in choosing the right kind of art and culture. For instance, watching movies or reading stories that promote the positivity of cross-cultures.


3. Helps kids in developing cross-group friendship:

Cross-group friendship plays a vital role in decreasing prejudice. Having a friend from another group may also remove barriers to empathy and caring, helping in eliminating prejudices.


4. Cultivate cross-group friendship yourself:

Parents can help children by role-modelling cross-group friendships themselves. Research says, that children’s racial attitudes are less tied to the parent’s explicit messages around than racial makeup of the parent’s social network.


5. Work to combat biases in yourself:

Research clearly shows that the impact of parent’s bias on kids shouldn’t be underestimated. Although explicit biases have negative effects on kids, implicit bias can also impact children.


Besides, the environment of an individual also promotes or demotes prejudices. One should always take care about the sensitivity of cultures and be open-mined to avoid the growth of prejudices.


Bidisha Mukherjee