Anatomy of Prejudice–or-Racism Classism Sexism and Other Hatreds

As a University student I read such works as Gorden Allport's "The Nature of Prejudice" and Theodore Adorno (et al) "The Authoritarian Personality" to understand the nature and psychodynamics of prejudice. I will make the bold social scientific statement; that prejudice has run rampant in our collective unconscious and our dreams for thousands of years. 

Just think of the ancient Romans and Greeks who had slaves, or women during those times who essentially had no rights. Remember also that slavery, was one of the primary political economic discontents that divided the United States, in-turn paving the way for the American Civil War. According to on the web, the cost of military lives on both sides was over 600,000 dead. This number does not include civilian collateral casualties. Slavery still exists on our planet as we speak. The European Holocaust of the Jews during WWII was primarily caused by prejudice. There are many different forms of prejudice and I have provided numerous dream interpretations posted at the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website to illustrate the prevasiveness of the problem. Here are some of the dreams that speak about the social problem of prejudice and its various forms; 

Moral Judgment in Dreams (read interpretation)

In a 2008 "meta-analysis" of 515 studies, Thomas Pettigrew and Linda Tropp found three factors which reduced prejudices; 

  1. Knowledge about the group, towards which there is prejudice.
  2. Reduction of anxiety, in terms of making contact (and communicating) with the group towards which there is prejudice.
  3. Building empathy and perspective taking with the group towards which there is prejudice.  

The IIDR dream interpretations especially support point 3, the need for empathy and perspective taking. Read the IIDR interpretation; "The Empathetic Civilization".

 Further Reading:

  • Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, "Anatomy of Prejudices".
All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.