Propaganda has existed in society for a long time now, and it has been the key tool for people in political, social, economic, and religious circles. In the political context, to survive and succeed, politicians spread propaganda about the shortcomings or failures of their rivals to the electorate. A perfect political example of the use of propaganda is Hitler’s rule in Germany, where the ruling party used propaganda not only against rival parties but also to pit the Germans against other races such as the Jews (Stanely 2). This has had a long-term influence because young Germans grow with formed opinions and develop hatred towards the Jews, and this is where discrimination becomes evident.
Similarly, in the United States (US), the political class from one race spread propaganda about people from other races and religions, and the youths, who are the targets of the propaganda become adults and continue with the negative views or opinions towards people from other races and religions. In an economic context, people advertise their products and services to potential customers although the advertising that people see on various platforms throughout the day is a form of propaganda. In fact, for business-minded individuals and entrepreneurs to sell their products and work in advertising, it is important for them to have some knowledge and understanding about the use of propaganda. Propaganda entails how one individual manipulates large groups of people or changes their perceptions of something or somebody. Although propaganda can be used in a positive way, which means that the person using it must understand the whole essence of propaganda and understand how it can be used to benefit a country, organization, individual or group, most people used it negatively with the aim of achieving negative outcomes (Stanely 2).
The main targets of propaganda today are children and youths because they acquire information faster and easier, which makes it less difficult for propaganda messages to be targeted at them. The exposure of children to indoctrination and propaganda in excessive amounts can cause long-term influence, which in most cases, leads to the nurture of discrimination, and this marks the origin of the debate on whether discrimination is nature or nurture. In the real sense, through propaganda, children and youths learn of discrimination, and then they become adults and continue living with discriminatory and prejudice thoughts and personality traits. In other words, discrimination is nurtured in children and youths by their families, friends, and environments such as the education they receive or the animation films they watch.
- Discrimination: Nature vs. nurture
Discrimination has always been a topic of debate around the world; the main argument being whether it is nature or nurture. A significant step towards ending this debate would be to understand or define the three terms: discrimination, nature, and nurture.
- Discrimination definition
A common term in society today, discrimination can be defined as the consideration or treatment of, or making a decision or distinction that is either in favor of or against an individual or something based on the class or category to which the individual or thing belongs (Brown 3). It can also be defined as negative actions or behaviors that a person develops towards another person or a group of people, mostly based on their race, sex, social, or economic class. Research indicates that discrimination is in different types or forms, and it can spread from a single person to an entire culture or community.
Today, discrimination exists in every part of the world, having been a phenomenon that was started by a single person or group of people. A common type of discrimination is racial discrimination, which occurs when a person is treated selectively or negatively because of their skin color, race, nationality, or ethnicity (Brown 3). A perfect example of racial discrimination was between the Nazis of Germany and the Jews during the Second World War. It is argued that during the war, the Nazis forced the Jews to identify themselves by wearing yellow stars, which worsened when the Jews were put in isolation in concentration camps. Other types of discrimination in society today are age discrimination where a person is treated poorly on the grounds of age and gender discrimination where a person is treated harshly or selectively due to their gender. When a person is treated harshly because of his race, age, gender, ethnicity, or social class, they are likely to revenge through engaging in conflict, verbal abuse, withdrawal, which are some of the effects of discrimination as will be seen later on.
- Short definition of nature
Nature, in this context, can be defined as the genes and all hereditary factors that influence who a person is, and this can be of a person’s physical appearance to their personality characteristics (Goldhaber 4). This can also be defined as how the environment or upbringing influences how people behave or view those around them. The nature concept can be linked to several behaviors or actions in society today such as stereotypes. When a person is brought up in a certain environment or a group of people with a certain idea about others, they are likely to develop having the same idea. This is how the concept of nature influences people’s actions or behaviors.
- Short Definition of nurture
Nurture, in the context of discrimination, can be defined as how a person’s views or perceptions of others are influenced by those around them including family, friends, and environment, which in this case, can be education that a person receives or the animation films that a person watches (Goldhaber 4). With nurture, the focus is on a person’s childhood experiences, how they are raised, their surrounding cultures, as their social relationships. A person may discriminate another based on race, skin color, or ethnicity because they grew up seeing their family or friends doing the same. To a large extent, the discriminatory practices in society today are nurtured by people’s family, friends, and more importantly the education they receive or the films that they watch. Today, the discrimination of the Muslim community is because of the films that portray people from the community as terrorists and perpetrators of various criminal activities.
- The debate
Over the past years, there has been lots of debate on whether discrimination is nature or nurtured although nobody to this present day can vividly explain its origin. Discrimination has been in existence among humans over the years, but the different opinions or views on whether it is nature or nurtured have hampered its elimination altogether. In this debate, there are those who believe strongly that discrimination is nature. These people believe that discrimination results from an individual’s natural sense of competition as well as fear towards change or anything that is new or different. In reality, humans have a natural sense of competition, which in most cases, is directed towards people who look differently in terms of race and skin color. For instance, people with a white skin color often strive to do better than those with black or other skin colors, and over time, this natural sense or belief has evolved into something that is bigger and more serious. On the other side of this debate are people who believe strongly that discrimination is nurtured, meaning that it is taught or learned from the environment and the people in it (Goldhaber 6).
During the Second World War, for instance, through propaganda, German rulers spread information that the Jews were bad and unworthy people, and up to present, Germans have had negative opinions and attitudes towards the Jews. Propaganda about various races or ethnicities has also been spread through education and modern-day films. In the educational context, textbooks, and other literature contain discriminatory themes as well as an analysis of specific races, which has seen most children grow up with formed opinions towards specific races and ethnicities. In line with these perspectives, to a large extent, discrimination is nurtured as education and modern-day films have played a key role in influencing the opinions or views of children, who are the primary targets, towards people from other races or ethnicities (Goldhaber 6). The negative perception that Germans have of the Jews up to today was not as a result of nature but was as a result of the teachings they got from their political leadership through the curriculum in educational institutions. American children too, through specific animation films, have developed negative attitudes towards people from other races.
- Effects of discrimination
Having understood whether discrimination is nature or nurture, it is important to understand the effects of discrimination. Without a doubt, discrimination, no matter the type, has numerous adverse economic, social, physical, and effects not only on victims but also its perpetrators.
When a child grows into an adult with negative perceptions about a person from another race, it is likely that the discrimination will be transferred to the workplace context, which could result in adverse economic effects. People who are discriminated are likely to miss out on employment opportunities. For instance, after the Second World War, how Germans view the Jews is yet to change, and this has seen the Jews in Germany miss out on employment or job opportunities. With few employment opportunities for the Jews in Germany, they make less money, and this has resulted in the high levels of poverty among the Jews. In the US, the Hispanic population is the main target of discriminatory practices, which have seen Hispanics especially Mexicans receive low wages in the workplace. The existing discriminatory practices targeting the Hispanic population in the US has increased the population’s susceptibility to poverty.
Still, from the economic perspective, discrimination has played a part in the exploitation of minority groups or communities at the workplace. Apart from missing out on employment opportunities, discriminated persons or groups of people who manage to get their way into the limited employment opportunities are often exploited (Brown 16). This means that their chances for advancement or salary increments at the workplace are limited. Moreover, this group of people is often subjected to harsh treatment as they are introduced to new skills, which they are expected to learn without asking questions or receiving feedback.
The economic effects of discrimination on organizations and business cannot be overlooked. In society today, there are organizations and businesses whose managers or leaders treat their employees selectively or harshly based on their gender, race, or color. These discriminatory practices are fuelled by experiences learned from other individuals practicing the same, and their adverse effects on organizations and business are evident. Organizations and businesses that fail to take strong action on discrimination experience lower productivity, revenue generation, and profitability because some employees lose interest in working hard or feel disgruntled. Discrimination also results in the loss of morale, confidence, and trust on the part of employees leading to their withdrawal or resignation, which in the long run, affect the productivity and revenue generation of businesses and organizations. Moreover, people with exceptional abilities or skills are often not attracted to businesses where discriminatory practices are rampant; hence, productivity is lowered significantly.
In neighborhoods, victims of discrimination are seen to stay in poor houses and congested conditions. Besides, they are always victimized and harassed sexually and physically, which leads to confusion and social isolation. Research indicates that victims of discrimination are likely to get involved in socially unacceptable behaviors such as drug and substance abuse, alcohol consumption, and crime. Also, these people are likely to form negative opinions towards others or develop hatred towards people from other races (Brown 11). After the Second World War, which saw the Nazis discriminate the Jews because of their race, the latter has since developed hatred towards the Nazis, and this is why the two races have never been in good terms. Up to today, this hatred has been fueled by the animation films and educational curriculum in both countries that spread propaganda about how one race is superior to the other. Discrimination has been extended to social institutions and contexts such as schools and churches, and this has resulted in numerous social effects. Victims of discrimination in schools often prefer to quit school earlier than expected or they perform poorly because of the belief that they are inferior. On several occasions, victims of discrimination in social institutions such as schools often find it better to withdraw themselves from various social activities such as sports or community programs (Brown 11).
Social conflicts and discords in various countries are always as a result of discrimination (Brown 12). Most people who face discrimination whether based on gender, age, ethnicity, or race often find it better to regroup with some vengeance or revenge against others in mind. For instance, in the US, there have been several cases pitting one race against the other recent years. The country has witnessed several social conflicts between whites and blacks or between whites and Hispanics, most of which are as a result of the rampant discriminatory practices. Evidently, whites view themselves as superior to other races, and this has not gone well with other races that find it better to revenge. Several lives have been lost from these social conflicts and discords, and it is high time governments stood up against and illegalized discriminatory practices. With the spread of propaganda, elimination of discrimination altogether in countries such as the US remains a challenge. It should be noted that social conflicts have been fueled by films that present specific races in different ways. To be precise, most films in America and the entire world portray people from the Muslim community as terrorists, and this is what has fueled the endless conflicts between Islamic countries and others. The rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups worldwide is just but a perfect example of the social effects of discrimination.
Physical and emotional effects
Discrimination at the individual level increases the risk of physical and emotional problems experienced by individuals while at the institutional level it might increase the demand for related services. People who face discrimination regularly are likely to feel sad and helpless (Brown 20). In the US, for instance, Hispanics who are the primary targets of discrimination are often sad and helpless, which increases chances of depression. In fact, the number of Hispanics visiting healthcare centers because of depression is significantly higher than that of whites who visit these centers with the same problem. A victim of discrimination always has fewer friends with whom they can share their problems, and this worsens their depression or stress levels. Discrimination also results in anxiety among victims of the same, which is not recommended for persons who are to live healthily. It is common that people, who are discriminated, often prepare themselves for the same in whatever situation they are. Before going out to work, they prepare themselves for insults from others, and this heightens their anxiety levels.
Discrimination results in the loss of interest and this can be extended to social and economic contexts. During sports activities such as football matches, there are instances where people of one race discriminate those from other races, and this is one of the reasons why some athletes lose interest in the competitions in which they are involved. It is very unfortunate that strict measures or policies are yet to be put in place to eliminate discriminatory practices in social events. Several cases of eating disorders, trauma, low-esteem, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have also been linked to discrimination (Brown 21). PTSD is more prevalent among victims of discrimination because of the feeling that they are not wanted in society or that they make no contribution towards societal growth or development. In the US, research indicates that the number of PTSD patients of Hispanic origin is higher than that of other races, and this is because Hispanics are the primary targets of discriminatory practices in the country. Extreme cases of PTSD can result in death, and this clearly shows how serious the issue of discrimination is in modern society.
Discriminatory practices at the organizational level such as having some races enjoy benefits such as health insurance, compensation, and promotions result in physical and emotional effects. There are cases where people decide to commit suicide because they are denied health benefits, compensation, or promotion at the workplace because of the skin color or race (Brown 21). Also, there are several cases where people have sustained physical injuries for discriminating others of different skin color or race. In recent times, in the US, there are cases where people have been involved in physical fights because of discriminatory practices. Most recently, the number of blacks in the US sustaining physical injuries because of discrimination has increased significantly.
Brown, Christia Spears. “The educational, psychological, and social impact of discrimination on the immigrant child.” (2015).
Goldhaber, Dale. The nature-nurture debates: Bridging the gap. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Stanely, Jason. “Introduction: The Problem of Propaganda”. How Propaganda Works. Jason Stanley. 1st ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. 1-26. Web.