ARTICLES

Psychology : The psychological degrees of separation between Stereotype, Prejudice and Discrimination.

As a learned man, I often hear people use the term ‘stereotype’, to define another person, speech or maybe even a group of people very casually, without really understanding what they are inferring by using the term, and how it can lead to deeper attitude ‘prejudice’ and further by involving others ‘discrimination’. 

So what are these terms that can cause such disharmony and even violence amongst various groups within a populous.

The term Stereotype, accurately means to have a fixed broad belief regarding another sector of the population due to their class, faith, colour or social group.This then infers a set of characteristics we have attached to these groups and those within.

Prejudice, could be said to be a lot harsher, for it contains strong emotional feelings, usually negative that along with the characteristics attributed to a group and its members. It sets out to keep them separate from your own group and with judgement on its members that is unjustified and usually drawn from historic generational attitudes that have not changed from their initial source.

Leading to Discrimination, takes time, but when it happens it is humanity at a low point. It is the actions or behaviour of one social group, in a negative verbal and maybe eventually violent manner towards a lesser or secular group, based on ignorance, prejudice and social stereotyping. 

From the above three explanations, one can summarise from research as well as personal experience, how hate can build from a negative perception or experience, to an attitude containing additional characteristics and so on, to become a negative often violent or verbally abusive behaviour. 

As an outline to my arguments I use the psychological principles of ‘affect, behaviour and cognition’. Our perception likes to be organised and easily understood by the brain. This in effect, affords us the ability to categorise, simplify and store our perception of people, places and things, so we can immediately know how to act, engage or ‘fit-in’. It is part of genetic make-up, derived from the  human instinct to survive. It could also be attributed to learned  and observed behaviour picked up from our parents, siblings or peers? 

In social climates that do not represent all the cultures in a local populous, Stereotyping of other minorities could be due to location, or micro-cultural climates, where one part of a suburb or town, might only be inhabited my white middle class people, and therefore never really mix to learn other cultures if there is no opportunity for interaction.

Example: A young man having gone with friends to see a reggae concert for the first time, and having not previously met or interacted outside of his social group, could stereotype the performers and their group: “Oh their music was typically stereotypical of their type, slow, same beat and I recon high,  probably lazy and from Jamaica ”.  

He’s therefore made a broad assumption regarding the culture, and music, and those that playing it, without really knowing the history or truth behind them or the scene. They could have come from across town, been born in the same country, but due to their parents been introduced and appreciated the reggae culture. Stereotype can distort the truth, in order to make it acceptable, orderly and simple.

As pointed out by Karlins (1969) in his research which he set up over three generations, between (1933-1967). He asked college students from a distinct privilege white protestant background, questions regarding two minority groups (Jews and Blacks) that had through history been subject to stereotyping and discrimination. 

The students revealed many stereotypical traits and attitudes that only could have been learned from past generations, prejudiced doctrine perhaps from religious leaders or elders about both minorities. The chart he produced showing percentages and comments over time on these minority perceptions are very interesting, to see stereotypical attitudes regarding money and Jews, or laziness and superstition for Blacks.

To this day attitudes like those still exist, where areas of high Black populations show unemployment, and therefore suggest its their attitude. In cities where there are successful Jewish populations, again comments socially are made regarding how shrewd Jews are with money. These comments and prejudices never look deeper into maybe why? They are general superficial assumptions. 

Defined by Jean-Paul Satre and the California Institute: “A person whom holds views on anti-semitism and dislikes Jews, will more than likely be an authoritarian figure, and hold similar views regarding other minorities, compared to that of a person whom is not anti-Semitic”. 

This comment was later withdrawn, as further studies proved it was not a proven theory. However, as discussed above and in certain groups, like the Afrikaners prior to 1994, many believed and followed in their philosophy as the ruling societal group, de-classed others that were not of their race and culture.

Without tackling the issue through mediation or improved education and inception by a governing authority both minority or prejudiced group will carry on. 

Example, I live my life, as a white gay jewish man. I have witnessed all forms of stereotyping and prejudice. I have avoided when necessary various known homophobic neighbourhoods. I have been openly excluded at job interviews, and have witnessed within my own family, comments regarding the gay community and culture. 

Thus from a social categorisation perspective I can note that though part of one minority social group, Jewish, my family will upon occasion, become part of another social group within society, when it is necessary for them. Therefore, social categorisation can adjust depending on beliefs, up-bringing, conditioning and the information observed and learned through media or peers. 

Prejudice:

We live in world where-by living on a global forum, we can be influenced from an early age, more than any previous generation.  Social media has created platforms and new forms of celebrity that influence the behaviours of many whom are gullible enough to believe the fake news. A social influencer, news agency, political organisation or government, can use stereotypical  ideology via comments about a minority, to build prejudice, create change in the minds of its main populous, and affect an action of discrimination overnight.

Example: In an article written by Kim Bissell and Scott Parrott in 2013, . “The stereotypes of the out-group may consist of threats to the in-group when the out-group does not meet the in-group’s social or behavioural expectations (Hamilton et al., 1990). Studies have shown that negative stereotypes exist in social media (Levy et al., 2013), as stereotypes about social groups are one form of media content”

Recently, due to discriminatory posts against certain minority communities, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have been pulled across the coast by equal rights groups and others representing those minorities, asking the platforms to regulated what is posted.

Without having boundaries we can now see how new forms of prejudice have sprouted without links to previous generations or local societal influences. The internet has made available, the ability to cause maybe incite prejudice through posting clever imagery and provocative writing. It might not be up for long, but the seed and result wanted have been planted and can easily spread via sharing. 

When seeking to understand Prejudice, we should use the three main theories: (Social Psychology: Jonathan Freedman, Published by Prentice-Hall)

  1. Societal Level: where it can spread, infiltrate within a culture or society due to the main group that would hold the most popularity introducing or re-instigating past prejudices about another group. 

Example: Currently in Russia, it is illegal to have a gay relationship, be freely gay or run a gay organisation. This has opened the door for other far-right groups to target anyone they deem gay, and freely beat them, or as has happened result in people dying from these attacks. The media portray the LGBT community as deviant, aggressive and sub-human to main-stream culture. (Cunningham GB: BBCNews: Article 2012).

  1. Socio-cultural learning: Where individual prejudices of younger generations can be associated back through each generation, die to the fact that no education or change in attitude has occurred. And only with developing a local society or alternate system that exposes new generations to other groups to freely make up their own minds will they change their prejudice.  

Example: After 1994 in South Africa, Black and White adolescents where allowed to share schools, and not be restricted, did the prejudices on both sides change. Individuals were given the freedom to interact, and create new attitudes and drop old prejudices.

  1. Intrapersonal: An individual will develop his/hers own prejudices based on what they experience at a particular moment in their life. This will develop cognitive schemas that change their attitude towards another person and thereby a group by association. From an experience a person could develop stereotypical and prejudice behaviour towards another individual.

Often when times are tough economically, resources are low and unemployment high. The frustration from extreme populations in society, lead to a build up of psychic energy that has to be released. Thus, prejudice arise, and the extreme elements associated with a culture, start to antagonise minorities. 

Example: As noted currently due to Covid-19, there has been a dramatic rise globally in anti-semitism, racism and homophobia. 

In the USA the rise in white extremism has been corrupted as part of the Trump “ Make America Great Again” a slogan from the last election. This has been taken and used by white, lower class extremists as a way of releasing frustration about unemployment, immigration and prejudicial feelings towards minorities.

Source:(Washington Post Jan.18th 2017).

This stereotypical pervasive argument, unfortunately is built upon generations of racist social-learning, ignorance and frustration, that would not be targeted at their own group behaviour more often than not at any other group appearing to be doing better than them.  

So does prejudice grow when there is blame?

One article by Cristian Tileaga, does look at the political and social climate after communism fell in Romania and the discrimination towards the Romanies, as an ethnic minority. It suggests that although the prejudice and discrimination grew due to a rise in nationalism, that this minority, acted as if belong a moral order or statehood, and so were different and excluded themselves. 

Further to this, like other similar arguments used during the rise of Hitler in Germany, or more recently on Yugoslavia, they brought it upon themselves, by not being part of main society, instead separating themselves and being exclusive to their own group.

I have seen in the UK, similar discrimination regarding Romanies (gypsies) mostly built upon old prejudices. If a group does not adhere to the general order of mainstream society, look and dress differently, have their own codes of conduct, beliefs that do not correspond to main culture, they are then considered separate, and outside of acceptable society.

I recently heard an interview with Lord Rothschild, in it he was asked what it’s like to be part of the British Aristocracy? Upon which he replied” “ I’m not part of the Aristocracy, my family will never be accepted, as we are Jewish.” (Lord Rothschild 2019)

Here one can look at this from two perspectives, that of a prevailing prejudice still in modern Britain, that excludes and still discriminates against certain minorities.That otherwise could have been included, if they met the right criteria.

And the other perspective, from the viewpoint of Lord Rothschild in a historically targeted minority group, whom has a learned conditioned response, predictable with its own stereotypical attitude,  from generations of observed behaviour. That, why make waves, they the ‘aristocrats’ have already decided and will continue to show the same discrimination. Thus the centuries old stereotypical, discriminatory dance continues.

Understanding and observing how easily it is to make a stereotypical assessment, without any grounds for truth. It is therefore easier to then follow the path of its evolution towards prejudice, once its gets a flowing and then become discrimination given the right climate and form to grow. Once at that point, it is extremely hard to alter the course of the wind of change back to a modicum of civility.

Reference:

Staying Healthy with an Immune challenged body.

Staying healthy with an immune challenged body.

There are many articles and diets today aimed at helping us gain, loose, trim, reduce cholesterol and others, that affect our weight and heart.

But what about those who aside from the latter, have to navigate the issue of keeping their immune system boosted, navigate medications and the side-affects, aside from eating a recommended nutritious diet?

In understanding how best to treat someone, we need to understand the social factors and context surrounding each person. Looking at the lifestyle includes a broader insight into race, gender, income level, shopping habits, rural /city living, class, and other factors. People interpret their experiences of illness and health differently, and this can lead to some taking one course of action and others acting in a more apathetic or procrastinating manner. Again we can look at race, gender, age group, culture, and ethnicity to create circumstances that surround choice.

In South Africa if we look at a local city like Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, one can see how the above factors play a vital role in the way health-related issues arise. On the one hand, you have areas that could be considered ‘first world’ with all the facilities and standards that you would expect in a European City. Supermarkets with clean filled shelves of freshly supplied fruit and vegetables, canned or dried goods and luxuries like chocolate and wine. Then you could travel a few kilometers down the road and see a township where unlike the supermarket, these are ‘home-stores’ that are situated in different parts of the village to sell goods that are based on income levels. Meat might not be totally fresh and limited in choice, maize and related corn or rice bulked products are sold as the basis for all meals. Shopping here is not based on what you would like, but need, how much can you get out of your salary to feed you and your family over a period of time, say a week.

Many of the factors in South Africa that govern health-related issues arise from a black culture that has been poorly educated in nutrition, sees food as a necessity, not as a pleasure, and enjoys sugar-based treats and maize-based snacks as an in-between snack. This is not uncommon even in western society, where parents will use crisps to satiate a child’s hunger between meals. It’s a poor alternative to a crispy apple which has many essential benefits, to a snack offering no nutritious factors. And in that child later on in life, due to reliance on that high sodium and non-saturated fat snacks of diabetes or heart disease.

Still there is a large portion of society in many countries that are not aware of what food manufacturers use to ‘bulk-up’ products to meet the expectations of the consumer in size, color, weight, etc. and for the manufacturer to improve profit through cheaper basic raw materials.

Over the years we have seen the use of corn-based products used as syrups, starches, and powder to increase the bulk and sweetness of products. Take a look at `yogurt’ It’s a simple enough product made from milk, yet it contains starch and often gelatine to give that thick creamy texture. ‘Real yogurt’ is a lot runnier, its consistency is not appealing to the consumer; and therefore would not sell as well.

It is therefore, left to the responsibility of Health Professionals, Dieticians and Nutritionists, and the Food Production and Agricultural Industry through collaboration, to educate, inform adjust the patterns of purchasing by the shopper in seeking healthier options. Through education from the primary school level, children can influence parents in poorer neighborhoods on how to purchase healthier options, and to limit the unhealthy snacks for natural alternatives.

Nutrition in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, because of the diverse cultures and socio-economic differences needs to be broken down into very simple terms that can be categorised by a colour theory or iconography. We already have some of these in place and labels do give measurements , but most consumers don’t understand what the measurements mean or can even read the small print. The ideal scenario would be to get the food production industry, and that includes fast-food chains, to use healthy levels of natural ingredients, rather than products like corn syrup, sodium and stabilisers.

There has definitely been a link between the use of various food additives in the past 30 years and children being treated for Attention Disorders. In some cultures like Asia and Africa, their body does not have the enzyme ability to break-down and dissolve the additives contained in western fast-food. This has led to many children and young adults suffering from obesity, diabetes and the early on-set of poor liver function at alarming rates. It is pleasing to see that more recently stores like Sainsbury’s in the UK, Woolworths and Food Lovers Market in South Africa and Trader Joes in the USA offer organic or more naturally produced alternatives. Through ‘consumer demand’ and the rise in celebrity chef’s like Jamie Oliver. Their influence has helped to inform the general populous of healthy eating habits and purchasing.

More recently, celebrity ‘Health Professionals’ like Frederick Banting, Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo clinic and Tim Noakes, have brought forth nutrition regimes like the Aitkins / Ketogenic / Banting and Right Blood Type diets. These are based on serving the right portion size/meal, learning to calculate carbohydrate and protein intake, and excluding certain foods that are bad for the digestion system and over well-being. These can include but not limited too: refined carbs, insoluble fats, oils, nuts, sugar, and certain fruits. Though consumers embarking on any of these diets should first learn if these diets are right for their body type.

*Patients with HIV, Type 2/Diabetes, or Kidney and Liver disorders should avoid these types of diets, as they can cause kidney stones, heart disease, muscle wastage, nutrient deficiencies, and constipation.

All these various eating regimes have helped to fuel more information to the consumer, allowing them to be better informed and less helpless in diagnosing their own health issues, leading now to less reliant on General Practitioner’s whom often are not well informed on correct nutrition.

It is with great joy to say that many health professionals now look at all the symptoms regarding illness, and after they have treated their clients, they often refer them to a Dietitian or Nutritionist for continued support and diet corrective education.

Why is a good diet so important for people with HIV?
Eating the right diet means your body’s system and organs are getting the correct balance of nutrients to help promote regeneration and support the well-being of the body as a complete organic system. When you have HIV, various bodily systems are put under great strain from the virus and medications. The body needs to be supported to keep all systems operating well, maintain consistency and prevent weight and muscle loss. Following various dietary guidelines, a person can improve their efficiency and maintain a healthier body.

Eating protein which breaks down into amino acids helps to maintain and repair cells and muscle. Though as a source of energy it is short-lived and should not be the main constituent of your diet. It can cause rapid weight loss on its own resulting in muscle wastage.

A higher carbohydrate/fat diet that does not include refined carbs or sweets, will greatly improve the balance of the immune system, maintain the form, and CD4 levels required with people who are HIV+. Many nuts fruits, coconut oil will increase cellular reproduction, organ regeneration, and a balanced energy output for those who workout and are HIV+.

The reason why we need our vitamins and minerals is that these nutrients help the body to regulate all the various processes that our complex systems have, some repair, some regenerate, some build, some carry away like transporters and some detox.

Like all processes a fluid is required to act as a medium, and this is where water comes into play. Our body which is mainly water use this fluid to dilute other substances within the body for function.

‘Be healthier and happier body’.

Improving ones CD4 count:

  • Limit milk and sugary or caffeinated drinks.
  • Eat slowly and more frequently.
  • Avoid greasy foods.
  • Instead of fresh produce, try well-cooked vegetables or canned ones.
  • Try calcium carbonate supplements or fiber supplements like Metamucil wafers.
  • Drink more fluids than usual.
  • Don’t smoke, and abusing drugs damages your immune system.
  • Eat foods high in these vitamins and minerals, which can help boost your immune system:
  • Vitamin A and beta-carotene: dark green, yellow, orange, or red vegetables and fruit; liver; whole eggs; milk.
  • B vitamins: meat, fish, chicken, grains, nuts, white beans, avocados, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables.

With any diet, look at the interactions your body first has with its medications. Some HIV meds will increase your cholesterol rapidly, others will cause strain and even damage to your gall bladder and kidneys.

The right diet is often a mix of the best, with a careful appreciation to moderate your portions, eat far less sugary snacks or drinks which do poison the immune system, eat less red meat and more white meat and fish, and eat good fats and oils for improved health and energy. Having a dietary format that you work out each week is a better way to stick to a healthier lifestyle. Last-minute ideas are usually trouble, pizza is not a good option to have on a regular basis. Think about how you would like to feel in 5 years and maintain your health through careful consumption.

Article written by Shalom Grays.

For more information write to me and let me know more about your health secrets, diets, and issues.