Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guilty of Ignorance-

Did anyone else feel challenged after watching the Australian Eye?

I do not want to treat this blog as a confession booth; however I do want to incorporate some of the explanations of prejudice covered by Baumeister & Bushman (2008) with my own reflections. I feel that ignorance (Baumeister & Bushman ,2008) is such a huge barrier for overcoming prejudice. Ignorance can be an extension of the stereotype heuristic, which is an attempt to simplify ways of thinking about people. (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008). Furthermore, how things make us feel (our self esteem) affects our perspective on situations and experiences. These three explanations for prejudice (self esteem, stereotyping and ignorance) in combination can separate reality from what is easiest for us to comprehend/deal with everyday/makes us feel better.

For example, the film Amazing Graze, which is also discussed on Zoe's blog (http://zoesocialpsych.blogspot.com/), surrounds the issue of slavery, an overt form of discrimination. After watching Amazing Grace I came out of the movie feeling impressed about what has been done about slavery. However, the reality is that slavery still happens all over the world today (www.iabolish.org). Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it does not exist (I'm not in anyway minimising any efforts of people such as William Wilberforce). It's just easier to focus on the positive, right?

For me, it comes down to ignorance. Ignorance has many forms. After watching The Australian Eye, however, it was ignorance in understanding the effects of prejudice on the victim. In my head and moral fibres I know discrimination is wrong. Even though I'm part Australian and part Tongan I have never felt like I have been obviously discriminated against. Therefore, I have not felt or internalised what it is like to be the victim.

The film highlighted a number of behaviours, feelings and thoughts that come as a result of prejudice. They include
- Loss of self identity
- Denial
- Alienation
- Resistance
- Resentment
- Frustration
- Unco-operation
- Hatred/ anger
- Isolation
Just to name a few.
Looking at these reactions it’s become obvious that that prejudice is good recipe for breeding prejudice. It was mentioned a few times in the film (The Australian Eye) that these reactions were suppressed by the indigenous community as a mechanism of survival. It seems hardly worth surviving.
This blog is more of a reflection of some of the material that I have seen over the past few weeks. I'm not really sure how to talk about these things from a social psychological perspective. I feel like I'm going on my own little tangent most of the time. So if anyone has any tips I'd be happy to hear them! While I get down off my soap box :o)

Take care all
-kara

Note- I would like to say that these are my opinions and ideas. I do not want to fall into the trap of stereotyping everyone into the same category as me and having the same opinions as me.

References Baumeister, R. F. & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Social Psychology and Human Nature (1st ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth.