Where We Live: Roots of Prejudice

Rebroadcast of our show about the origins of "Us versus Them"

Linda, Creative Commons
Where We Live: Roots of Prejudice
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Where We Live: Roots of Prejudice

Prejudice is one of the more troubling and baffling aspects of human nature

It has been the subject of scientific study for years.  But while social psychologists have learned a great deal about attitudes and societal influences that cause intergroup conflict, little effort has been devoted to understanding how adult humans come to have these biases in the first place.  So a Yale study set out to discover the roots of human prejudice, by studying groups of rhesus monkeys.

The results suggests that our primate cousins have a negative reaction to outsiders – meaning prejudice could have less to do with our environment, culture, even our human-ness.    We’re not taught to judge, by T.V., school, or society at large, but rather we’re biologically hard-wired to.  

Today we’ll talk to the lead psychologist of the study to learn how monkeys can reveal new truths about ourselves. But we can’t all be guilty of harboring prejudiced thoughts -- right? We’ll talk to the developer of the Implicit Association Test which reveals our subconscious stereotypes that can influence attitudes towards gender, race, even reveal our biases towards Coke or Pepsi.  And hear from the developer of UnderstandingPrejudice.org to learn how we can fight this innate urge to judge.



Uma Ramiah

If one honestly believes, "we're not taught to judge by T.V., school,
or society at large...," one is just "extraordinary." Televison promotes agendas that insures biases while pushing indifferences which reinforces stereotypes and prejudices. Schools are ran by systems built to exclude, built to produce failing results thus preventing challenges to status quo which disenfranchise many "undesirable." Society at large stands on misconceptions and falsehoods preventing truths justifying the avoiding of positions to remedy wrongs. However, the blame must be placed on disenfranchised groups for refusing to embrace the truth of the majority group. People do not change thus the problems of yesterday remain the same today.