Terror Management Theory and Prejudice

The theory of terror management argues that mortality issues play a major role in discrimination and investment in the cultural perceptions of women and minority groups. This work indicates several interventions that could help to minimize aggression, bias, and discrimination between groups. This might be beneficial to minimize the salience of mortality. This would be difficult in places where violence is already prevalent but could be accomplished by minimizing actions likely to increase focus on death, whether by terrorists or military forces.

The theory has implications for individual mental health as well as inter-group harmony. People should function securely in their daily lives as long as people have strong faith in a meaning-providing worldview and believe in significant contributors to that meaningful world. This suggests that buttressing psychological resources should be an important goal for psychotherapists. This goal should also be embraced by educators and policymakers, for the culture at large provides the critical basis for viewing life as meaningful and oneself as significant.

Sources of prejudice

Some sources of prejudice are given below

Socialization: Seems many biases are passed down from parents to kids. Degrading representations, and stereotypes of different communities, such as racial minorities, women, homosexuals, and lesbians, the disabled, and the elderly, are also perpetuated by the media, including television, film, and advertisement. Prejudices can be learned through association, incentive, and punishment, observing others, groups, or cultural norms, and exposure to evidence that reinforces bias, as well as other attitudes. People who learn prejudiced attitudes may develop a prejudiced personality, and show a feeling of hostility against the out-group. Scapegoating: This is the phenomenon in which the majority group places the blame for the social, economic, or political issues of an individual on a minority out-group. The minority is too poor to protect its party against such claims, or too limited in size. Scapegoating is a way of voicing anger based on the group, which sometimes results in negative attitudes or bias towards the weaker group. Conforming behaviors: Biases can bring support from important people, so opposing biases can lead to loss of social support. There can be tremendous pressure to conform to the views of family, colleagues, and associates. A strong social identity and in-group bias: Individuals with a strong sense of social identity and a very positive outlook towards their group raise attitudes by maintaining negative attitudes towards other groups that display discrimination. Self-fulfilling prophecy: In some cases, the group that is the target of prejudice is responsible for continuing the prejudice. For example, when the target group is represented as a dependent, and thus unable to make progress, the representatives of the target unit may respond in a manner that proves this definition to be valid. The target group may behave in ways that validate the bias that reinforces the negative expectation. Present bias is reinforced in this way.

Strategies for handling prejudice:
The first step in managing prejudice is to think about the causes or origins. The methods for coping with prejudice will be useful when the aim is to:

Minimizing opportunities for discrimination in learning

To modify such behaviors

De-emphasizing an in-group-based narrow social identity

Discouraging the urge among the victims of racism to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The objectives can be achieved through: Education and distribution of information to correct assumptions relevant to particular target groups and to resolve the issue of heavy prejudice in the community. Increasing intergroup interaction, make it possible to interact directly, remove mistrust between the groups, and even discover positive characteristics in the out-groups. The categories only succeed, however, when:

In a cooperative rather than competitive sense, the two groups meet.

Close interactions between groups help to understand better one another.

In power or status, the two groups are not different.

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