The essay covers the role of prejudice in wars in Iraq. It defines prejudice and explains its role and effects. Other forms or factors of prejudice such as racism and discrimination are explained. The main causes of prejudice are explained and how they can be used to resolve and be used for the benefit of fighting discrimination and stereotyping. Ways in which citizens can assist to promote peace and helping the eradication of prejudice are suggested.
Prejudice is negative attitude and feelings towards a certain group, which include discrimination of people due to their race, actions, beliefs and/or feelings. Prejudice is commonly used with discrimination and stereotyping since they have the same meaning, and go hand in hand. Prejudice in psychology is the science that affects the social mind.
They are used to disintegrate people instead of bringing them together as one. It breaks relationships which may exists between individuals or groups even if the relationship is negative like in the cases of military patriotism (Plous, 2003). War has been commonly used to dehumanize groups of people with the intention of killing or casualties.
The Iraq war is the most popular in describing prejudice. The U.S invaded Iraq because it is claimed that Muslims from Iraq, who are popularly known to carry out terrorism (jihad) bombed the Twin Towers on the 911 incident. The terrorists retaliated by bombing U.S, thus the cycle of war continues. This creates a gap between the two as the Muslims see themselves different from us and we also see ourselves different from them, thus creating a gap between the humans.
Prejudice has played many roles, the main one being loss of human life, which is generated via war. Those participating in these wars are encouraged by being honored and valued, this being the reason as to why war and prejudice never end. Many lie about what war is and its’ consequences by sugar coating it and in some instances, lie of their involvement.
Those responsible end up being awarded medals or excuses are given, which leave them free without trial or punishment. It clearly portrays racism, sexism, heterosexism and exploitation of indigenous people, animals and the environment at large as some of the major effects that bring about human conflict and enmity.
Racism has led to increased prejudice, which is the main cause of ethnic conflicts and wars in the Middle East and Africa whereas in other states, it has led to debates and controversies on race, racism, nationalism and multiculturalism.
A good example is the genocides which took place in the 1990’s with Rwanda (Africa) being the worst affected leaving millions wounded, homeless and many dead. Other genocides have occurred in Bosnia and Kosovo. These events have led to researches on the issues of prejudice and racism.
Theories have emerged especially on psychological theories which adversely contribute to our knowledge on this disturbing social issue, and offer assistance on how the acquired knowledge maybe put into practice in understanding and resolving intergroup oppression and conflicts. Social researches have been brought forward arguing that prejudice and racism manifest themselves at different levels which include institutional, individual’s, intergroup or even interpersonal (Plous, 2003).
To understand prejudice in relation to psychology, it may be related to discrimination or one having negative attitudes towards someone else basically because he or she belongs to a certain group. With Iraq, U.S discriminated it since it belonged to the Al Qaeda group, which was a terrorist group and was attacking it and killing many innocent Americans.
In the U.S – Iraq war, American soldiers were seen on the media and internet laughing and torturing Iraqi prisoners, while another terrorist group, still in Iraq, showed the video of an Iraqi slaughtering an American civilian. Others had photos showing an Iraq mob killing four American military then hanging them on March 31st.
These murders and tortures clearly show a sign of hatred, enmity and inhumanity among the humans. If mobs and groups of terrorists can carry out the same, one is left to wonder what effect or impact trained military personnel could have like that of the U.S especially on their mortal enemy.
This becomes really hard for the human activists such as the Red Cross, United Nations and Africa Union to promote peace and eliminate prejudice. Reason for this is that many leaders such as the religious, military and political leaders tolerate this kind of behaviors without bring the culprits into justice.
The U.S being the leading in music and film making exercise prejudice by discriminating the Muslim race, in that, they feed civilians with discrimination information in form of movies and music. We expect the military to behave in an extra ordinary manner forgetting that they are also humans who are subject to hatred and discrimination waves against the Iraqis and the Muslim in general as the public is.
Some military leaders have made anti- Muslim speeches to the public and on live broadcasts while in uniform and no form of confrontation or warning was done. He went ahead and authorized for both sexual and physical abuse of the Iraqi prisoners.
Prejudice is mainly promoted by hate speeches from popular leaders, government actions and the media (Clow and Esses, 2007). The three lead to the widespread of prejudice across the world which results into wars and conflicts between countries, groups or even individuals.
Government actions such as interrogations, police detention without trials, profiling at subways and airports, police raids among others are some of the effects causing mainly the Muslims and blackrown colored people feeling insecure and discriminated as they are the main suspects in crimes and terrorist actions.
The media behaves irresponsible through talks, shows as well as news as the government can control any information that would expose it to the public but any other act related to a black colored or Muslim related story is very quick to publish and expose it.
In the previous years Fight against prejudice took another turn when groups and factions forbid any public expression that would lead or encourage prejudice and discrimination of whatsoever manner.
For example, some editorialists accompanied by protestors confronted the president of Rutgers University asking him to step down for discriminating the blacks and calling them “the disadvantaged and without genetic, hereditary background…” Others like Ralph Reed called for a press conference to urge people to denounce the habit of name calling especially with regards to race and color.
Citizens can assist in promoting peace and fight against prejudice in many ways, although eliminating prejudice totally will not be possible since everyone has their own motives and as long as freedom for expression remains, hate speeches and other kinds of prejudice will prevail.
For example, some people believe and will express it out publicly that homosexuality is a disease and disgrace to the society, which is a form of discrimination. This is a form of promoting peace and fighting prejudice as the school policies do not tolerate such speeches (Brochu, and Esses, 2009).
An effective way of promoting peace is via the media. Using the internet, radio, television, computers and printing can be very effective to make humans understand the need and importance of peace. Media if not controlled and well monitored may lead to war as was the case with the Iraq war in 1993. This is due to the civilians being misinformed due to the unverified information and misrepresentation of statements.
Some withhold or release de-sensationalizing information which does not promote peace especially in times of war or near war, thus, steering up war and conflicts. Education in schools mainly junior, high school and colleges should be used to teach students about peace since they interact mostly with others from different backgrounds and of different races.
Dialogue should be used and allowed as everyone has a right to express themselves as long as it does not promote prejudice in any way. The government and leaders should strictly forbid and contain prejudice by laying out strict and just policies, rules and repercussions and making them known to all (Esses., et al, 2008).
Symposiums and conferences should be encouraged and all races should be encouraged and everyone’s view should be addressed equally without favoring anyone and discriminating the others.
Respect for others’ religion should be addressed and adhered to promptly. Another thing to note is that revenge always accelerates war rather than peace. Dr King advocated for peace and called it “not the absence of violence, but the presence of justice,” (Zucchino, 2004).
On elections day, we should strive to elect leaders who know the meaning of peace and are willing to go an extra mile to achieve it and ensure that justice is served to those who seek it. Others may perceive peace inform of justice as those who do wrong by encouraging war or murder to be taken for trial and prosecuted. Also to understand the roots of evil like war, terrorism, murder and any other form of inhuman act (Berreby, 2005).
The law should be closely followed as it calls on us to follow the procedures laid in order to protect innocent lives, apprehend calmly rather than to use force and destroy property and lives.
Citizens can decide to reject the U.S strategies used by the government and advocate for those that respond to terrorism in a positive and polite way by using the necessary resources to prosecute international criminals. During debates the root causes of prejudice and any other source of conflicts that is likely to stir up war or hatred should be addressed and not only the symptoms and effects.
Together as one, we should recognize and appreciate the other parties are taking. This way United States is able to respond effectively and receive assistance from the international body if we are able to identify our role in promoting peace and fighting terrorism.
Challenge the elected leaders to dialogue with Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders in order to formulate solutions and work together to encourage peace and spread it globally. Ask leaders to change from engaging in wars through bombing Iraq to aiding the starving Muslims who majority are homeless and dying.
Increasing the amount of multilateral organizations which are not based on the fact that one is with us or against us, but those that serve all equally without discrimination. Finally, activists and unions can foster the understanding of various cultures and advocate for reconciliation and peace among the inter cultural community (Reynolds, 2005).
In conclusion, prejudice and discrimination cannot be completely eradicated but can be controlled or used to the advantage of promoting peace and reconciliation among the human race. The main perpetrators of prejudice are the government actions which can decide whether or not the war will stop or will continue.
Media which has the most effect as can be manipulated to steer up war by the government or other popular individuals and hate speeches on live broadcast by prominent leaders such as the military, religious and political leaders.
Peace is inevitable since if war erupts only innocent lives are sacrificed and many become displaced but by promoting peace, love and unity irrespective of color or background, a lot can be achieved with the use of those resources being diverted elsewhere like in invention or assisting catastrophic hit areas or even venturing to the out a space.
These actions will not be effective in a year or two or even five years time but will be a gradual process which the following generations will benefit from and the world will be a conducive environment to live in without fear.
Berreby, D. (2005). Us and Them: Understanding your Tribal Mind. New York: Little Brown and Company
Brochu, P. & Esses, V. (2009). Weight prejudice and medical policy: Support for an ambiguously discriminatory policy is influenced by prejudice-coloured glasses. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9, 117-133.
Clow, K. & Esses, V. (2007). Expectancy effects in social stereotyping: Automatic and controlled processing in the Neely paradigm. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39, 161-173.
Esses, V. Veenvliet, S., Hodson, G., & Mihic, L. (2008). Justice, morality, and the dehumanization of refugees. Social Justice Research, 21, 4-25.
Plous, S. (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Reynolds, N. (2005). Basrah, Baghdad, and Beyond: U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War. Naval Institute Press, Maryland.
Zucchino, D. (2004). Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.