Psychosocial Aspects of Prejudice

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What are some of the psychological conflicts that underlie prejudice? Much early writing presents the basic hypothesis that members of a minority become targets of prejudice because they are convenient scapegoats who can be loaded with the sins of others and driven out of the community. Another way of saying this is that the outgroup, or minority, is a readily available target for the displacement or projection of unacceptable wishes or feelings of the majority. Because it serves this social function, its existence becomes important for the reduction of the majority’s anxiety and guilt and for the maintenance of the majority’s self-esteem. (55 pp.)

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