Prejudice, Discrimination and Hate: A Psychological Overview


Prejudice, Discrimination and Hate: A Psychological Overview
by capt_ayhab

This is a general discussion, an attempt to bring to light the psychological reasons behind why we discriminate against other human beings based on some irrational   differences such as color of skin, ethnicity, gender, religion and language.


Quite literally prejudice means to pre-judge or to form an opinion about something before all the facts are gathered. One of the earliest psychological explanations of prejudice described it as: “an antipathy based on faulty and inflexible generalization towards a group as a whole or towards an individual because they are a member of that group.”

The first thing that this explanation tells us is that prejudice is not something logical or based in fact, but rather, on a series of assumptions, half-truths and guesses. Secondly, it tells us is that prejudice is based on generalization – on a whole host of characteristics and qualities that we assume a person has, based purely on the fact that he or she is a member of a particular group.


Assuming that prejudice is an attitude, then discrimination is manifestation of such attitude, which results in stigma and 'Label' as it is often called. A great deal of prejudice is unconscious, reflected in the basic stereotyped assumptions that we make about others every day. These generalizations affect our behavior and cause us to discriminate against whole sections of society. Eventually, large groups become ‘ghettoized’ and the people within these groups feel isolated and alone.


Extreme manifestation of prejudice and discrimination is that of hate which is defined as intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger,  sense of injury or extreme dislike or antipathy.

Why are we Prejudice?

One of the earliest attempts to try and understand the nature of prejudice, stated that prejudice was something hidden deep within each of us and ingrained in all of our personalities. Writing in a book called [The Authoritarian Personality], the psychologist Theodor Adorno put forward the idea that there were certain people with certain personality traits such as aggression, intolerance and conservatism that pre-disposed them to hold prejudiced views and be hostile towards ethnic minorities and other social groups.(1)

Another wildly accepted theory in explaining prejudice is known as [Social Learning Theory]. This theory places a strong emphasis on our ‘socialization’, or on how we are brought up; the values of our parents and friends which we absorb, where we live, and what culture we belong to. Psychologists have long questioned why people behave differently when they are in groups rather than when alone. They raise questions like: what is it about being part of a pack at a football match or being part of a community or culture that makes us almost lose our sense of identity and take sides against a supposed enemy? (2)

These psychologists see that the more dependent a person is on their social identity for their personal identity, or on their group to give them their feeling of self esteem, the higher the possibility of them being prejudiced. Among people who have a low opinion of themselves, prejudice is often used to separate themselves from groups they don’t want to belong to and grow closer to groups they do.

(1) The Authoritarian Personality (Studies in Prejudice); by Theodor W. Adorno (Author), Else Frenkel-Brunswik (Author), Daniel J. Levinson (Contributor) ; W W Norton & Co Inc; Abr Rei edition (November 1993), ISBN-13: 978-0393311129 -
(2) Ormrod, J.E. (1999). Human learning (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Recently by capt_ayhabCommentsDate
Grandeur of Kiani Crown.
May 07, 2010
Happy Mothers Day
May 07, 2010
Why Do I Think the Military Strike on Iran is Imminent!
May 06, 2010
more from capt_ayhab


by capt_ayhab on

They have category all their own: WING NUTS 


I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

On a major news network recently, someone called

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

the president "racist". I wonder where he falls into any of this. The said person also freaked out when during a hemorrhoid surgery he was not given tip top king treatment. he VLOGGED about it! Sometimes I think he is beyond these classifications and should just settle for stupid.


these days

by capt_ayhab on

Seems like some people just thrive on hate. Deceptive politicians[of all clothing] by creating fearful living environment and societies flame the prejudice and hate among ethnic groups, religions, nationalities and entire world.

Everyone hates everyone, They hate because you are a Jew or a Muslim, or a Christian. They hate you if you are white or black...... They hate you twice if you are Muslim from Iran......





Understanding is the universal solvent

by Mehdi on

Those are the words of L. Ron. Hubbard.

Hatred, discrimination, racism, etc, are all based of lack of understanding (of the other side). MKO hates Basiji because they don' tunderstand Basiji. Basiji hates MKO because he doesn' t understand MKO. Islamist hates Jewish because he doesn't truly understand him and vis versa. Lack of understanding is due to lack of information and contact, or due to false information. People have wrong ideas about each other, be it by social education or whatever. The solution is to bring about an understanding of each other, if possible - put them in contact with each other - cultural exchange. Wars and isolations (sanctions, etc) and punishments don't work in the long run because they don't bring about understanding and instead they reduce it!


Very nice!

by IRANdokht on

and quite timely if I may add...

I've seen a huge surge of hateful racist comments and blogs here lately.

Thanks for the great post!



Thank you, Captain!

by Anita on

"Beware of prejudice! Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning. A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom. A star has the same radiance whether it shines from the east or from the west."


all prejudices are destructive of the human edifice. As long as these prejudices persist, the struggle for existence must remain dominant, and bloodthirstiness and rapacity continue. Therefore, even as was the case in the past, the world of humanity cannot be saved from the darkness of nature and cannot attain illumination except through the abandonment of prejudices and the acquisition of the morals of the Kingdom. "

 "If this prejudice and enmity are on account of religion (consider that), religion should be the cause of fellowship, otherwise it is fruitless. And if this prejudice be the prejudice of nationality (consider that) all mankind are of one nation; all have sprung from the tree of Adam, and Adam is the root of the tree. That  tree is one and all these nations are like branches, while the individuals of humanity are like leaves, blossoms and fruits thereof. Then the establishment of various nations and the consequent shedding of blood and destruction of the edifice of humanity result from human ignorance and selfish motives. "





Dear Captain

by Anonym on

Good analysis. Unfortunatley this site is a cesspool that attracts hate mongers of all kind, especially the more mindless anti-Muslim/anti-Islamic kind.