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Questions about Problems / General Paper Essay Outline : Can prejudice ever be eliminated ?

These are just some ideas. This outline is not meant to be taken as the only or final answer to the question.

. warning handle with care

Questions about problems usually require a general grasp of the following dimensions of the problem :

(i) What is the problem in the question ? Do we understand it  ?

Prejudice : preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Discrimination : the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

(ii) Who is responsible for this problem, really?

The answer could be : Consider the parties involved … the problem is usually :

(a) a product of a confluence of factors

(b) and responsibility should be shared

(c) Yet, in certain problems, there is a group that should be held more accountable.

(a) Prejudice could have begun from negative personal experiences caused by a lack of understanding.

(b) But discriminatory policies could have also reinforced and perpetuated the prejudice.

(c) Yet, we recognise if this problem is one that began with negative personal experiences, then the onus must be on each individual to seek understanding and be proactive in creating positive experiences with others (and for leaders to facilitate the creation of positive experiences).

(iii) Is this inevitable?

In the case of prejudice, science and human evolution support the idea that prejudice is natural because human beings need to make judgements about others that could affect their survival.

Errors in judgement could even be expected as a normal part of the a person’s learning process.

The important thing is to correct the human error of prejudice and prevent it from becoming  rampant, or even institutionalised, discrimination.

(iv) Is it unsolvable?

The answer could be :

(1) Education (formal, informal, through the media) >> for a more enduring inculcation of values and development of understanding

(2) Laws >> an important tool for engineering society

(3) Look at current or recent initiatives that show some success. The ability to emulate and adapt good efforts gives hope that the problem can be overcome. Add a view of the bigger picture : The history of humanity is filled with evidence that major transformations can take place such as the rise of democracy or industrialisation. Hence, it may be too soon to dismiss prejudice and discrimination as unsolvable problems

To show that something is inevitable or unsolvable, you may need to show that

•          Not enough time, money, human resources, technology, political will and discipline have been put into making these solutions (like education & law) work

*** If those with power and influence benefit from prejudice and discrimination, they would be less willing to change.

•          The solutions that are put in place have flaws / loopholes

•          Some solutions are impractical, too idealistic

•          The root causes of the problem are not addressed

>>> Meritocracy may be regarded as  a fair reward system that judges people only on capability and supposedly removes prejudice against race, religion, nationality, age, sex, or family or economic background. Unfortunately, it can still contribute to prejudice. This can happen when the reward is very great, like an overseas scholarship. Understandably, the reward should not be too small because there must be enough incentive to excel. But a great reward that opens many doors then becomes too competitively fought for. Earning it consequently brings prestige to the triumphant, but results in the ‘failures’ being relegated to the courses, schools or jobs that were not their first choice. This is how prejudice is planted against the people, schools or jobs that are regarded as not being the best. However, the solution cannot be to throw out the reward system altogether. There are root causes that have not been addressed, even while a well-meaning meritocracy is built. One such cause could be the false belief that winning these rewards makes someone more worthy of respect. Conversely, those who are less successful are believed to be incompetent, and thus not worthy. A society that does not weed out damaging false beliefs will undermine other efforts to stop prejudice.    

(v) Final word on the problem

At the end of the day, looking to a higher value or a higher purpose is essential in order to find a way out of this problem

>>> For the problems of prejudice and discrimination, the question is whether all societies will come on board and embrace the idea of equality among men.

Prejudice and Discrimination in the World Today :

Gender :

Caste : 

Apartheid :

Anti-semitism :

Culture :


Xenophobia :

Anti-LGBT :

Singapore :

(Click here if link fails : political representation race )

(Click here if link fails : cmio pigeonhole the races )



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