Essay on The Language Of Prejudice By Gordon Allport

Essay on The Language Of Prejudice By Gordon Allport

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Pride and Prejudice
We’ve all done it: walking down a hallway, judging someone or thinking someone is less than what we perceive ourselves to be based on the color of their skin or how they are dressed, or even their physical features. The author of The Language of Prejudice, Gordon Allport, shares how we live in a society where we are ridiculed for being less than a culture who labels themselves as dominant. This essay reveals the classifications made to the American morale. Allport analyzes in many ways how language can stimulate prejudice and the connection between language and prejudice.
Allport begins his essay comparing nouns, in this case the human race, to grains of sand. He uses this comparison to illustrate how we group people based on their ethnicity or their physical appearance rather than individual characteristics. When we begin to group people based on their race or physical appearance rather than other individualities, we overlook their personal attributes which only allows us to see the classifications we’ve made about them. “Oriental,” “Negro,” and “blind man” are labels that refer to the physical appearance of a person and in the words of Allport, the labels “prevent alternative classification, or even cross-classification” to create a more accurate judgment of the individual (365). He explains how what stands out in our mind when we look at a person will be the main label we hold to them no matter what their true nature is. An analogy I can give for this is like judging a book by its cover. We may judge the book a certain way, and no matter how different it truly is, our first judgement will remain as our main thought. You cannot see through to the other qualities because your mind is not allowing you to ac...


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...norities should meet certain societal standards.
The choice of words you use can affect the way a person or a group of people feels toward you and the group you associate with. This essay by Allport describes both negative connotations as well as negative labels that certain groups of people use to describe others which usually results to bashing. As human beings, we feel the need to describe a person based on their outer appearance and that does not allow us to see much of anything that expresses their true character. His explanation of associating generalizations with a certain group of people is prejudice because it is a distraction from what is real. Allport’s argument of with the absence of words, our world would be less complex tells us that we need expressive word and generalizations, but we have to be aware of how they are used to certain groups of people.

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