Prejudice and Terrorism

This paper is discusses prejudice as it is applied on terrorism. It features editorials and studies which tackles the characteristics of prejudice as it was exhibited before and after the 9/11 attacks. ? Prejudice and Terrorism Introduction Terrorism has become a common impediment in modern human society. Car bombs, assassinations, ambushes, and hijackings are common enemies of democratic nations. Basically, terrorism is not just a way to strike terror on a population but an expression of the will to change world order through easy ways such as violence.

Doers of such acts would justify their means through philosophies which are anchored on aspects of ideology and religion (“A Modern Scourge”, n. d. ). Terrorism Because of the heavy hand enforced on terrorism by the United States of America, people have developed prejudice. People begin to see differently, people from the Middle East, Muslims, and Arabs, associating them with terrorism. One of the events that have defined terrorism is the 9/11 attacks which destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and wrecked a fraction of the Pentagon.

Thomas Friedman is one of the columnists who closely watched the events in 9/11 and all the other aspects associated with it. In his article in the New York Times entitled, “Addicted to 9/11”, he pointed out a statement by Mr. Kenny saying that what many Americans are worried about is actually the war on terror changing our lives and our societies rather than changing the terrorists and uprooting them. In the same article, Friedman also said that the Bush administration exploited the 9/11 event to pave the way to imposing changes on foreign policy, taxes, the environment, and social issues.

Because of this, Bush created a wall between the United States and the rest of the world. In another article written by the same author entitled, “The Power in 11/9”, Friedman compared the collapse of the Berlin Wall to the 9/11 attacks. He pointed out that the difference between these two events was the power of the people. In Germany, the people proved the positivity in expanding freedom, while in 9/11, people showed how people’s bad ideas could create terrible consequences. Since 9/11, the United States of America have imposed a war on terrorism which aim is to eradicate all terrorist cells.

In consequence, it has created a barrier between the Arab world and the US, and that wall is prejudice. Prejudice Because of the increasing number of terrorist acts, people have developed prejudice towards all that has a direct or indirect association with terrorism. In 2004, BBC news (as cited in Das, E. et al. , 2008) reported European teenagers burning Muslim schools after news reports on Muslim extremist terrorism and that individuals who have an Arab background have anti-European sentiments. Prejudice is basically ingroups and outgroups.

According to ethnocentrism, ingroup love and outgroup hatred are reciprocally related. In a review of literature done by Marilynn Brewer, Allport’s (1954) theory on prejudice was correct in the existence of a process of attachment towards ingroups and attitudes towards outgroups (1999). Brewer stated that discrimination is not actually a direct act of antagonism towards outgoups but a desire to maintain and promote positive relations and security within the ingroup (p. 442). Terrorism and Prejudice In relation to Brewer’s analysis, Friedman’s articles manifest the very same principles on Bush’s war on terrorism.

Because of the overwhelming destruction seen in the 9/11 incident, the government acted in retaliation to protect the security and the interest of the American people. However, the efforts that were made by the Bush administration created a stigma for the American people against Muslims and other people from the Middle East. As reported by BBC in 2004, people are motivated to commit acts against Muslims because people often associate them with Muslim extremists and terrorists. In a study by Enny Das, Brad J. Bushman, Marieke D.

Bezemer, Peter Kerkhof, and Ivar E. Vermeulen, they determined how terrorism news reports increase prejudice against outgroups (2008). Their study was based on the terror management theory, which states that human beings, like animals, are predisposed towards survival. Humans, however, have the dictate of reason, thus they are able to perceive death. This fear of death somehow creates terror. In order to avoid this terror, they resort to culture and world views which offer them the idea of immortality, literally or symbolically.

They conducted an experiment where they exposed participants in three types of terrorism news. The experimenters assumed that exposure to the news should make participants think about death, which resulted to an increase of prejudice towards outgroups. The results of experiment were the same as expected, with increased prejudice towards outgroups, especially on participants had low self-esteem, since it reminded them of their own mortality (2008). Conclusion In conclusion, prejudice is a very powerful force that is not only applied on war on terrorism but on the preservation of life itself.

The articles of Friedman showed how prejudice played a vital role in Bush’s campaign against terror. The 9/11 incident kept that prejudice alive as it urged the government to exert all efforts in protecting national security and interest. Through the media in the form of news, people also acquired prejudice against Muslims and other ougroups that are associated with the Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. This was verified by Das, E, et al, when they conducted experiments on the effect of terrorism news increases prejudice against outgroups.

Prejudice may truly be a natural trait of human beings. As stated in terror management theory, humans resort to prejudice because of their anxiety towards death. As long as threat exists, prejudice may still remain. References Brewer, M. B. , (1999). ‘The Psychology of Prejudice: Ingroup Love or Outgroup Hate? ’. Journal of Social Issues, 5(3), 429-444. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://dtserv2. compsy. uni jena. de/ss2009/sozpsy_uj/86956663/content. nsf/Pages/ 115A277FF345972EC125759B003C 690/$FILE/Brewer%201999. pdf. Das, E. , Bushman, B. J. , Bezemer, M. D. , Kerkhof, P.

, & Vermeulen, I. E. , (2008). ‘How Terrorism News Reports Increase Prejudice Against Outgroups: A Terror Management Account’. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 453-459. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://sitemaker. umich. edu/brad. bushman/ files/dbbkv09. pdf. Friedman, T. L. , (2004). ‘Addicted to 9/11’. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://www. nytimes. com/2004/10/14/opinion/14friedman. html. Friedman, T. L. , (2009). ‘The Power in 11/9’. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://www. nytimes. com/2009/10/18/opinion/18friedman. html.