A theory refers to a set of beliefs or perceptions that people have over certain issues and they have either been proved or not. There are many theories that many philosophers and psychologists have come up with and among them are those that relate to prejudice. Prejudice is an irrational and rigid term that is used to categorize those people who are termed as rigid and irrational.
There are terms that are associated with prejudice and they are include a stereotype-which is a belief of a group of people, prejudice-are negative prejudgments of a group and its individual members, discrimination-means a negative behaviour which is directed to a particular member of a group due to the perception of a negative behaviour he or she exhibits. From these definitions stereotypes can be positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate while prejudice is normally in a negative direction only.
Discrimination however is the behaviour that an individual portrays in one of these conditions. Prejudices are therefore prejudgments about individuals and can either be negative or positive. Prejudice can be measured by looking at an individual’s behaviour or assessing an individual and coming up with a report. The theories that are related to prejudice include the cultural theory, the conflict theory, the scapegoat theory and the authoritarian personality theory. The scapegoat theory is a theory that suggests that people who are frustrated are driven to prejudice.
This theory has a strong perception that prejudice is more common among people who are more disadvantaged in the society, in essence this theory indicates that a scapegoat is a person or a group of people who have less influence in the society and are always complaining because of their own troubles. The term scapegoat obtained its meaning from the ‘scapegoat’ which is a goat that was used for ceremonial purposes in Jerusalem and other religious centers. The goat was driven off to the wilderness and sacrificed so that its blood could be used to cleanse.
More often, because of the innocence of the scapegoat i. e. the individual whose character is driven by prejudice, he is punished and blamed because of others wrong doings. When a problem occurs to a normal human being he likes to blame others. The scapegoats normally take aggressions of other people, who are often regarded as bullies because they use their power to outdo those who cannot resist. A character of an individual is often shaped by scapegoatism because once an individual has been termed as a scapegoat; it can be difficult to shake off the title away from him.
The origin of the word scapegoatism has a connection with Christianity; the original usage of the term therefore gave the word the current meaning and usage that is attributed to the term today. There are several fields that the theory of scapegoatism can be applied today and it includes Christianity, sports, psychoanalytic theory and sociological/ political orientations. In Christianity the theory of scapegoat is very relevant because it signifies the taking away of the human kind sins by Jesus Christ on the Cross.
The story is told in the bible in the book of Leviticus where Christ is symbolized as a goat taken to wilderness outside the city and killed so that its blood can be used to appease the clan that had sinned. Scapegoat’s theory according to Girard states man as having a problem with violence. The constant want for more by an individual often makes an individual to cause conflict in the society because of lack. This scenario is caused because both parties between individuals can involve themselves in a conflict that is meant to make them satisfy their needs.
This issue, as it grows in the society causes the individuals to indulge in scapegoatism mechanism, i. e. the point when an individual is sidelined in the society because of the trouble that he has caused in the society. The punishment often involves killing or expelling the individual from the society. When the scapegoat has been eliminated from the society, the balance of power and order comes back again and the cycle begins i. e. new scapegoats develop this character and the same process of expelling repeats itself.
Political and social organizations utilize the use of this term majorly in situations which the individual is out at a risk of death or lack of performance. In politics, scapegoatism is a good tool for propaganda i. e. spreading wrong information about someone in the society. An example is the use of the term in the modern history of the Jews where the Nazi group singled out the Jews as the source of the German post world war one political collapse and problems in the economic and social structure. In the social setup the use of the theory of scapegoatism has undesirably effects to the minority group who are less able to defend themselves.
In developed societies the use of negative use of the term to sideline the minority groups is increasingly being addressed. In sports issues the theory of scapegoatism is evident in some historic scenarios ever recorded. One case is the scapegoat of Buckner in the 1986 World Series baseball that he was the responsible for the loss of the game. In 2003 national league championships, Bartman Steven was blamed for interfering with a ball that would have been recorded as a foul in the Chicago basketball.
Another case also was the loss of the 2004 ice hockey championships by the Canadian team; the blame was directed to Fleury who was the goalkeeper. There are other several cases that this theory applies in sports. Psychoanalytic theory has reservations that the feelings and reasoning of an individual can be directed to an individual in a particular situation thus making the person whom the aggression is directed to as the scapegoat. In this case the individual becomes the source of the problem and will therefore bear the consequences.