Summary of Can Prejudice Ever Be a Good Thing?

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Can Prejudice Ever Be a Good Thing? summary
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Prejudice gets a bad rap, and rightly so. Yet people praise patriotism, cherish their alma maters, revel in their ethnic heritage, and hold family near and dear. These insider behaviors are as natural to human beings as walking upright. Psychologist Paul Bloom casts prejudice in a new light, explaining that in-group versus out-group bias, though innate, only becomes harmful if not tempered by empathy, awareness, judgment and intellect. getAbstract applauds Bloom’s unbiased approach to prejudice.

About the Speaker

Paul Bloom is a professor of psychology at Yale University.



People usually equate prejudice with acts of ignorance and evil. Yet prejudice and bias are innate human traits. Humans categorize people and things into familiar contexts to enable survival and navigation of the greater world. Thus, stereotypes and generalizations can be useful. People also divide the world into “us versus them.” When you experience feelings of national pride, for instance, you display bias toward your compatriots. These are natural human tendencies that even infants exhibit. However, problems arise when these sentiments lead people astray. Psychologist Henri Tajfel concluded ...

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