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Race Prejudice and Group Position

This paper analyzes the article “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position” By Herbert Blumer. The author of the article on racial prejudice believes, contrary to the established opinion, that they are not taken from various negative feelings but group positions or, in other words, stereotypes (Blumer 3). Working with feelings is much more difficult since many feelings form a negative attitude. Scientists need to study them in two planes: the nature of the emergence of the whole complex and each feeling, which has an individual character. Group positions are more logically explained, primarily rooted in identifying one’s racial group and its relation to others.

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Feelings are considered by the author as a consequence of such stereotypes and usually include in the leading group a spectrum from superiority and claim to fear and suspicion. Antipathy, disgust, and prejudice, in turn, emanate from the leading group of feelings. The peculiarity of the main group of feelings is that they are feelings of a group position, while others have a strictly individual nature. Group position has an extremely high power, which determines the behavior and influence of a person in this group, which is regarded as a norm or imperative. In addition, such stereotypes have a solid and long historical basis. This fact is also facilitated by the leaders’ opinions in the present, which forms the corresponding idea of the subordinate racial group. However, an important detail is defining another racial group as a collective, abstract image and not as a group of people or individuals with the same range of feelings and emotions.

In addition, often, people’s upbringing takes place far from other racial groups, and they cannot contact them, collecting an idea of their image from the lips of leaders. An important conclusion of the author is that negative prejudices arise when such issues are brought into the “public arena,” where authoritative opinions can significantly influence the opinions of the masses (Blumer 7). When events do not keep pace with shifts in the social order, all prejudice is weakened, and the sense of group position fades into the background.

Works Cited

Blumer, Herbert. “Race prejudice as a sense of group position.” Pacific Sociological Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 1958, pp. 3-7.

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