A teenager is a term that is used to categorize people who are between the age of thirteen to the age of nineteen years. This group has been known to be vulnerable to quite a number of things that impact them. This group also has the characteristics of picking up habits faster than any other age group. At this age also, the person is able to adopt characteristics that shapes their adult life in either a positive or a negative way. In this paper, I will be talking about the application and effects of the prejudice and discrimination theory in influencing the development of a teenager. With this, I will be taking a look at the issues that the adolescent face in their social functioning and interaction at home, in school and in other social functions.
Prejudice and discrimination theory
This theory tries to explain the positivity or negativity of an individual’s attitude towards something. This is influenced by the group of persons whom the individual mostly associates with. This group can be either an age group, racial group, nationality or even the school the individual attends. Additionally, it influences their attitude and perception towards a topic or an individual of a different group (Whitley & Kite, 2016). An attitude has three components; the first component is the cognitive component. This is a set of beliefs about a person or another group. Secondly is the effective component, which is a feeling that one develops towards the person or a group of persons. The third component is the behavioral one, which is the collection of actions that are directed towards people in the group. The behavioral component is based on the first two components. In the extreme, prejudice develops a liking or disliking feeling towards a person or group of people.
To start with, prejudice develops in five stages (Blanton et al., 2015). The first stage is that one of anti-locution, which is where a person is constantly exposed to negative information towards the other party in form of nasty jokes, being turned down or even malicious gossips. The second stage is that one of avoidance. At this stage, the teenager, for instance, will try to avoid scenarios where they associate with the person who they are developing an attitude towards. The third is the discrimination stage, which according to Austen 2014, is when the person develops the ability to perceive and respond in a particular way. At school, where most teenagers spend the most time with friends and teachers, this can be in form of publicly turning down or drawing negative attention to a particular person or group of people. The fourth stage is that of discrimination attacks. This can be in form of bullying at the school where a teenager can be mean to another or a group of other teenagers. At this stage, fighting is a common result. Lastly, it evolves into extermination.
Teenage exposure to prejudice and discrimination
At school, people are grouped into groups called classes. Mostly, these classes are comprised of people of the same age and thus, prejudice is something that the teenagers are exposed to from their fellow teenagers as well as from their teacher. In the extreme, this can be viewed in the level of bullying that is present in schools (Erginoz et al., 2015). Mostly, prejudice and discrimination are mostly based on the ethnicity of a person. In this, you find that teenagers from African-American background are exposed to prejudice and discrimination due to their complexion or ethnicity. Additionally, teenagers with physical disabilities or psychological disabilities are exposed to prejudice and discriminative actions at school. Additionally, teenagers are able to identify their sexuality and are able to express themselves (Anderson et al., 2016). This can be received with prejudice and those that have a different sexuality than what the community considers normal can be discriminated against.
With teenagers, having a negative experience with prejudice and discrimination can have lasting effects. To start with, this has been associated with bullying at school, a phenomenon that has resulted in a number of negative scenarios (Erginoz et al., 2015). First, this can lead to school dropouts as well as a teenage developing criminal characteristic. Also, there has been a loss of lives that have been associated with bullying at school. A child who has experienced bullying at school also has been said to have a lower self-esteem, something that ultimately affect their social communication and interaction abilities. Additionally, this has also affected their academic performance. Discrimination has also been associated with violence at school, from the teachers as well as from the peers (Erginoz et al., 2015). As a form of retaliation, students who have been discriminated against can join a group and result into violence. On the other hand, the teacher can discriminate against some students and act inappropriately through poor awarding of marks or even giving them harsh punishment, damaging their personality in the process.
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