Understanding Hate and Prejudice

prejudice in the workplace. Specifically it will discuss what the differences are between prejudice, discrimination, and scapegoating, and how prevalent anti-Semitic views are in the workplace and in America today. Prejudice in the workplace is a common problem in America, and preventing it should be the goal of every person in the country. Prejudice simply indicates misunderstanding, ignorance, and bias, and it has no place in the workplace, or in the country, for that matter.

Prejudice, discrimination, and scapegoating are all aspects of racial prejudice that can affect Americans and their workplaces today. Prejudice occurs when one individual or group is not tolerant of another individual or group because of race, gender, or religious views. Discrimination occurs when a person is "punished" or treated differently in society or the workplace because of their race, gender, or religious views. Scapegoating occurs when an entire race or other group is blamed for problems or issues, when in reality no one is to blame. All of these issues center on ignorance, hatred, bias, and misunderstanding and they indicate the great divide between many people in America. The difference between these types of bias are really that some of them are accepted in society, while others are not. It is not "politically correct" in most circles to speak out against blacks or Hispanics, and yet many people do.

In addition, many people in our society blame Hispanics for many aspects of the economy, including taking jobs from Americans and driving the average wage down, and they find it perfectly acceptable to do so. In addition, many people scapegoat Muslims as a group that is against the United States and freedom, when in fact many Muslims live and work in America and support their country completely. These issues are all negative and anti-democratic, and yet many of them draw widespread support from many Americans. These forms of bias drive a wedge between people in our society, and they indicate that as a country, we still have a long way to go to consider ourselves truly free and equal.

In a perfect world, the answer to how prevalent anti-Semitic views are in the workplace and the U.S. would be "not very." However, this is not a perfect world, unfortunately, and that means that anti-Semitic views may be more prevalent than many people realize. This is illustrated by the hate crimes and vandalism that still occurs in communities that relates to Jews and their religion. Jewish temples are vandalized and spray-painted with anti-Semitic slogans. People hold negative views against Jewish people for a wide variety of reasons. First, for some reason, Jews have historically been victims of prejudice and anti-Semitism throughout their history. These ideas are long ingrained in many people's minds, and they are handed down from generation to generation in society. For example, many people believe all Jews are wealthy, often they are bankers, or other financial executives, and they "own" certain industries, such as the film industry, especially in Hollywood. Another writer states, "The differences Jews had with their non-Jewish neighbors led to separate social and religious lives. Intolerance and suspicion of these differences led to fear and hatred" (Grobman, 1990). Many of these views are simply stereotypes, as there are Jews in all occupations, just as there are many different races and nationalities represented in all of the business and industry in America today. Jews seem to draw special criticism from some people, however, who seem to hold their religious beliefs against them, and who believe they are a "race," rather that a simple religious group.

In addition, another writer notes, "In situations where conditions are economically depressed and politically charged, groups and individuals may find it hard to tolerate those that are different from them or have caused them harm" (Peterson, 2003). Jews are estranged from other religious groups because many of their holidays and celebrations do not coincide with Christian holidays, and this makes them "different," and different in our culture is often cause for prejudice and hatred, simply because of the diversity among different groups of people. This is also related to people's propensity to hate or at least mistrust anything or anyone who is remotely different from themselves.

There are many different groups that are most likely to hold anti-Semitic views. Skinheads and neo-Nazis hate Jews simply because they are not "white" and therefore "supreme." Many members of this hate group also do not believe that the Holocaust ever took place during World War II, and they hate Jews because they perpetuate this "myth," as well. Muslims and Jews are often at odds because of the creation of Israel out of Palestine in the Middle East, and the resulting tensions over land and cultural disputes in the area. Finally, some people simply hate without a real cause or reason.

Scapegoating, bigotry, and discrimination of Jews in this country is no different than bigotry and hatred of other groups. Anti-Semitism is present in this country, whether Americans would like to admit it or not, and that it exists at all is a testament to the way bigotry and prejudice just cannot seem to disappear from Americans' lives, even in a time when many people feel we are more "enlightened" and open as a society. Intolerance because of religion is no different than intolerance because of skin color or race, and the Jews have faced this intolerance for centuries. To hate a group because of a person's religion is simply wrong in a society that prides itself on being an open democracy, but it is no different that the open hostilities toward illegal immigrants and other groups in the country today. Hatred is a form of ignorance, perpetuated by misunderstanding and misinformation, and it occurs far too often in this country.

There are many forms of subtle or covert prejudice in the workplace. In many industries, the division of labor is quite clear. Managers are often white males, while subordinates may be ethnic minorities, especially in service or labor related jobs. In addition, there can be many different hate crimes and prejudice conducted in the workplace that is not reported, and so it goes undetected for much of society. Another writer states, "Social surveys indicate that the majority of prejudice-motivated crimes and incidents are not reported. In workplace settings, as many as half of such events are not reported" (Ehrlich, 2002). In addition, there are other forms of prejudice, such as the "glass ceiling" for female executives, the disparity in pay between women and men, and not hiring people because they are overweight, older, or disabled in some way. These are all illegal hiring practices, but they still exist, and are often quite difficult to prove. They prove that prejudice and anti-Semitism are still prevalent in the country, even though many people might not want to admit they are still as common as they are.

Some of the ways to include diversity in the workplace and reduce prejudice include, "Incorporate diversity as a business goal. Secure a high degree of commitment from all employees. Become aware and respectful of individual work styles. Create an environment conducive to the exploration of diversity" (Anti-Defamation League, 2001, p. 9). All of these approaches can bring more understanding and openness to the workplace, and any workplace that employs a diverse staff should use these and other ideas to help maintain harmony and accord in the workplace. Managers must understand discrimination to ensure it does not occur in the workplace, and they must be willing to change their organization if they need to in order to maintain diversity and end discrimination. The organization also should be a "safe" environment where a diverse workforce feels safe from attack or discrimination, and managers should recognize that sometimes changes occurs very slowly in the workplace, so they…