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Paper #2 - Henderson 1 Jake Henderson Eng101 Jefferies The...

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Henderson 1 Jake Henderson Eng101 Jefferies 10/10/07 The Importance of Prejudice in In-Groups Introduction Gordon Allport, the head of Harvard University’s Department of Psychology and one of the founding fathers of the field of social-psychology, was accountable for the formation of theories on the relationship of our need for in-groups and prejudice. Allport puts forth these ideas in his 1954 book, The Nature of Prejudice . In general, he states that in-groups and reference groups are a part of everyone’s lives and that they determine the ways people identify themselves as well as others. I agree with Allport in most aspects except for his claim that prejudices are not necessary. I feel prejudice is necessary to produce in-group variability and to create in-group unity. Summary According to Allport, the best thing that can be done is to say that members of an in- group all use the term we with the same essential significance (Allport, 1954, p.173). In-groups are also said to be the loyalties, such as region, phratry, or social class, to which an individual will conform to. For every in-group that exists, there is an opposing out-group. In-groups can be either ascribed or achieved. Ascribed in-groups are those that are of the past and many are conferred automatically by birth and by family tradition. Examples are religion and political orientation. Achieved in-groups are those that are fought for. The membership to these groups is earned by meeting group-specific criterion. Examples are schools and professions. Within in- groups are reference groups. Sherif and Sherif have defined reference groups as “those groups to
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